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Intel reinvents wheel, launches 2-in-1 mobile category

by Tarinder Sandhu on 11 September 2013, 18:45

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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After failing to gain sufficient traction with premium Ultrabook laptops, Intel is refocussing mobile efforts on tablets and what the company is now calling 2-in-1s. Tablets are a known quantity, of course, and Intel has just unveiled the Bay Trail platform - based on a new Atom architecture, dubbed Silvermont - to power the next generation of feature-rich devices running either Windows or Android operating systems. The consensus is that Bay Trail will enable Intel to compete with the well-known mobile platforms available from ARM's cohort of partners.

2-in-1s - a new category?

2-in-1s, on the other hand, are existing hybrid laptops repositioned with another name. Ostensibly a tablet with a keyboard dock provided in the package, thus turning it into a laptop, Intel is using low-power mobile Haswell and high-end Bay Trail chips for this 'new' category.

Just like Ultrabooks, Intel has a list of requirements for 2-in-1s, including a >10in screen, Windows 8 operating system, touchscreen, integrated keyboard and 'amazing' battery life, though no longevity figure was given.

Positioned as the best of a laptop and best of a tablet, Intel reckons that its partners will have 60 2-in-1s available by this holiday season, ranging from $349 (Bay Trail) to $999-plus for the best Haswell machines. Intel says it is teaming up with Microsoft to introduce 2-in-1-specific features, optimising for distinct laptop and tablet modes.

It seems to us that Intel is looking to invigorate an existing category by giving it a new name. We believe that the cheaper Bay Trail 2-in-1s hold the most promise, arriving as they do at prices not too far above those for larger tablets.

Bay Trail to enable cheaper laptops, desktops

The small, inexpensive Bay Trail SoCs also enable Intel and its roster of partners to launch cheaper notebooks and desktops. Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president, stated at IDF that Bay Trail-M and -D machines are likely to start from as low as $199, with touch-enabled/2-in-1s available from $299/$349. These are to be productised as Celeron and Pentium and it's sensible to assume that, given the underlying hardware, they will be thin and light. Intel already has 140 design wins in this space.



HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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Having got a Dell XPS12 (very nice machine) and having had an Asus Vivotab Smart (nice design but underpowered and low resolution) i think that Intel are missing something by not targetting the iPad mini form factor which just feels right (size wise) for mobile use.
An 8" form factor Windows 8.1 tablet with Haswell, 1920 x 1200 resolution screen with a full size usb port and an sd slot and minimum 128GB ssd.
As most folk i have observed use a tablet in landscape the bezel should be narrow on what is the top and bottom in that mode.
Plus ...
I would sacrifce some thinness for a larger battery for true all day performance.
Myss_tree
Plus ...
I would sacrifce some thinness for a larger battery for true all day performance.
Can't help thinking (again) that whomever in Asus designed the original Transformer got it pretty much correct. If you need thin-n-light then you operate in tablet mode. If you need expandability and battery life then you use it in "netbook" mode where the 2nd battery in the keyboard dock can come into play.

I think the current obsession with "thinness at all costs" is very misplaced except for the real high end kit. And personally, I'm in total agreement with you - I wouldn't object in the slightest to having an old style netbook thickness in exchange for the potential to run all day on a single charge.

Got to wonder though how large these hybrids could go - if the new Note tablet can get up to a 12.2 screen size then that's low end laptop territory (thinking back to the Dell D400 that I used to own). And I'd certainly prefer one of these more flexible devices to a conventional small-screen laptop.
Myss_tree
An 8" form factor Windows 8.1 tablet with Haswell, 1920 x 1200 resolution screen with a full size usb port and an sd slot and minimum 128GB ssd.

I think for 8" Haswell 1200p SSD you're asking a bit much but it'll probably happen at some point and you can already (or very soon!) come close:

8" but Bay Trail: Toshiba Encore, Acer W3-810 (+dockable), Dell Venue
10" Bay Trail +1080p: Dell Venue
10" Bay Trail +dockable: Asus T100
13" Haswell +dockable: Asus T300, HP Split, Surface Pro 2 etc

Myss_tree
i think that Intel are missing something by not targetting the iPad mini form factor

But... the 8" versions target the ipad mini perfectly. Yes they're a little thicker & heavier BUT they're much faster, cheaper, 4x RAM, touch OS, full Win 8.1 for full x86 windows compatability, higher res, same battery life, HDMI, USB full peripheral support (printers etc), SD card slots AND a full version of MS Office 2013 AND they come with a keyboard dock & touchpad AND *cheaper* than ipad mini.

They're so full of win vs ipad mini and I'll get one straight up.
Amazingly, plenty of people still think the ipad mini better but I think they must be blind, stupid or insane.
Noli
But... the 8" versions target the ipad mini perfectly. Yes they're a little thicker & heavier BUT they're much faster, cheaper, 4x RAM, touch OS, full Win 8.1 for full x86 windows compatability, higher res, same battery life, HDMI, USB full peripheral support (printers etc), SD card slots AND a full version of MS Office 2013 AND *cheaper* than ipad mini. They're so full of win vs ipad mini and I'll get one straight up. Amazingly, plenty of people still think the ipad mini better but I think they must be blind, stupid or insane.

Hmm, as you say the iPad Mini owners are just plain daft, so even a deck as stacked as this one is won't convince them to fold (and get something unarguably better).

No, given that the iPad Mini owners are a lost cause, I suspect that the folks most worried about these devices will be the ones making Android tablets. Especially if the one's selling the Windows equivalent make the pricing competetive (i.e. don't do what's been done in the past and think that just because you can sell an iPad at high cost means that all devices can achieve that price point).