Windows 8 tablets with Intel Clover Trail chips on the way

Think of a major PC maker. Odds are they’re launching a new tablet on or around October 26th. It will run Windows 8, and there’s a good chance it will have an Intel Atom Z760 “Clover Trail” processor.

Intel is holding an event in San Francisco today to show off many of the upcoming Clover Trail tablets, such as the Asus Vivo Tab, HP Envy X2, Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2, and Dell Latitude 10. About half will be convertible or transformer-style tablets, while the rest will be slates.

But the chip maker is also providing more details about the Atom Z2760 processor that will power these devices.

Intel Atom Z2760

Overview

Intel is showing off tablets from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and ZTE today. They may have different memory, battery, and storage configurations, but they’ll all have the same Clover Trail processor which means that overall peformance should be similar on each device.

The Intel Atom Z2760 is a 32nm dual core processor with support for hyperthreading, which means it can run up to 4 parallel instruction threads at a time.

Intel’s new Atom chip is a 1.8 GHz processor with support for Intel Burst technology for on-demand performance. It supports up to 2GB of memory and includes a 533 MHz PowerVR graphics core.

The chip supports WiFi, 3G, 4G LTE, and NFC technologies and GPS, and can work with a range of sensors including accelerometer, compass, proximity, and thermal sensors.

Atom Z2760 chips will show up in devices that support HDMI 1.3 output work with  primary cameras with up to 8MP as well as secondary cameras which can capture up to 2.1MP images.

Intel Atom Z2760

Power consumption

The Intel Atom Z2760CPU is a close cousin to the Medfield chip used in smartphones. It has a TDP of just 2W and Intel expects most Clover Trail tablets to get up to 9 or 10 hours of battery life. Results may vary from model to model depending on battery configurations and other features.

Intel says that you should see that kind of battery life whether you’re surfing the web, watching videos, or performing other day-to-day activities. Clover Trail systems can run for weeks at a time if they’re in standby.

A low TDP doesn’t just mean longer battery life. It also means the chip doesn’t generate a lot of heat, and that lets device makers build tablets that are thin, light, and which don’t require noisy (and cumbersome) fans.

Clover Trail systems will be able to weigh 1.5 pounds or less and measure as little as a third of an inch thick.

Phone-like capabilities

It’s also the first chip from Intel to support the company’s new S0ix or “active idle” state. This is a new sort of sleep state reduces power consumption by 20 percent, while still allowing a computer to stay connected to the internet and poll for incoming email messages or other data. In other words, as soon as you tap the power button on your tablet, you should see any instant messages, email messages, or other updates that occurred when the screen was off — much the way you can on your smartphone.

This is the sort of thing that devices with ARM-based chips have been offering for ages, but it’s relatively new territory for Intel. Today’s ultrabooks can do something similar with a “connected standby” mode, but “active idle” is more efficient. It will also be available in next year’s Core i family processors, code-named “Haswell.”

Performance 

Intel’s new chip is a 1.8 GHz dual core processor with support for hyperthreading. That means it can support up to 4 threads at once.

The Z2760 is designed for Microsoft Windows 8 and includes memory, graphics, and CPU optimizations to take advantage of the new touch-friendly user interface.

The PowerVR graphics core can also handle HD video playback and 3D gaming capabilities.

I’ve only spent a little time with Clover Trail systems, but in my experience they do seem to be pretty responsive when navigating the Windows 8 home screen, opening apps, and surfing the web.

Technically you might get more raw processing power from an Atom processor aimed at netbooks such as the Intel Atom N2600 or N2800. But those chips draw more power and aren’t optimized for Windows 8 the way the new Z2760 is — so you’d probably notice the differences more in benchmarks or CPU-intensive tasks such as transcoding video than in real-world performance.

Intel says under most circumstances, a tablet with an Atom Z2760 processor should feel at least as fast as a netbook with an Intel Atom N2600 chip, if not faster.

Application support

OK, so Intel has new chips that are nearly as energy-efficient as ARM-based processors, and which offer the same kind of all-day battery life and always-connected experience. But why choose a Clover Trail tablet over an ARM-based tablet?

Because the Intel Atom Z2760 is an x86 processor which can handle the full Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro experience.

ARM-based tablets can run Windows RT, Google Android, or some Linux distributions (such as Ubuntu or Fedora) that have been optimized for ARM. But Clover Trail systems can run Windows 8 — which means they can run pretty much any Windows app you can throw at them.

They may not be as fast as systems with Core i series processors when it comes to heavy duty tasks such as playing video games or editing large spreadsheets. But much like netbooks of yore, a Windows 8 tablet with a Clover Trail processor will be able to do almost everything that a more powerful Windows computer can do… it’ll just do some of those things a little more slowly.

But you will be able to run legacy apps designed for earlier versions of Windows. That’s something you can’t do with Windows RT (the version of Windows 8 designed for ARM-based chips) unless developers update their apps.

As you might expect, that’s the sort of thing that’s going to be important to business customers and other institutions that don’t necessarily update the software they rely on as rapidly as you might move from Office 2010 to Office 2013. Intel one of the key markets for its Clover Trail platform is the enterprise space.

Even some apps that are designed for Windows 8 and Windows RT won’t run the same way on both platforms. Microsoft has already said that Office 2013 for Windows RT won’t have all the features of the full Windows 8 version.

Clover Trail chips also support Secure Boot and Intel Platform Trust Technology (fTPM).

Linux and other operating systems

There’s been a bit of confusion over Intel’s position on running Linux or other operating systems on Clover Trail computers.

First it was reported that Linux wouldn’t run. Then it was reported that it would… but maybe not until later.

I asked Intel about this, and here’s the deal. The Atom Z2760 was designed specifically for Windows 8. It’s optimized for Windows 8 and runs that operating system better than any other.

But it’s an x86 processor. You can install pretty much anything on it. Just don’t expect it to run perfectly.

Enterprise customers that aren’t ready to move to Windows 8 should be able to install Windows or even Windows XP on a Clover Trail tablet.

And if you want to try booting an operating system based on the Linux kernel… Intel won’t help you, but they won’t try to stop you either.

Unfortunately the graphics core in the Z2760 processor is a PowerVR core design licensed from Imagination Technologies. That means Intel wouldn’t have the rights to distribute source code for Clover Trail graphics even if the company wanted to… and Imagination hasn’t been very forthcoming with source code in the past.

So while I suspect some folks will try to get Ubuntu, Debian, Arch, Fedora, or other Linux-based operating systems up and running on Clover Trail tablets, you’ll probably have a smoother ride if you stick with Windows.

That’s not to say Intel won’t eventually support other operating systems. The company plays a significant role in the development of the open source Tizen operating system. But Clover Trail is launching first and foremost as a chip for Windows 8 devices.

Intel Atom inside tablet

Prices

Most of the prices we’ve seen for Clover Trail tablets so far have been rather… high. While you can pick up an Intel Atom powered netbook for under $300, an Android tablet for around $200, and an iPad for $499 and up, Clover Trail tablets from Asus, Lenovo, and Samsung are expected to run $650 and up.

It’s up to tablet makers, not Intel, to set pricing for their devices. But Intel tells me that we can expect to see some more affordable models.

The Atom Z2760 chip itself isn’t the only reason most of the models we’ve seen so far have had relatively high starting prices.

These tablets have also featured optional (or included) keyboard docks, reasonably large solid state disks, and a full Windows 8 license. All of those things cost money and make it tough to compare this sort of device to an entry-level iPad which has just 16GB of storage, no keyboard, and no support for Windows apps.

  • baxwerd

    this is bullshit. Intel is a piece of shit ripping off consumers with their illusion of better chips.. when we get a fucking load of hot jizz.

  • Renee Auclair

    I guess we’ll have to wait for AMD to start approaching 2760 performance before we’ll see Intel dropping prices anytime soon. If it were up to Intel, we’d still be in the Pentium 1 days. If AMD hadn’t introduced Athlon and kicked Intel’s butt, chip development wouldn’t have gotten off first gear.

    • CyberGusa

      It’s not really Intel setting these prices, mind the pricing isn’t that much higher than ARM devices of similar configuration.

      An iPad 3 with 4G and 64GB capacity goes for $829 for example. Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 goes for about $640 as well.

      Tablets like the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD, and Nook HD don’t represent most tablets. Since unlike more companies Amazon, Google, and B&N can make profit from their services and not just hardware sales.

      Amazon especially can afford to sell at a loss as they stand to make much more from their services.

      Also those tablets below $300 tend to be smaller 7″ to 9″ and require less cost to make than the larger 10″ and 11.6″ tablets we’re seeing being offered for x86 based systems.

      • Robert Jakiel

        You are pricing an iPad w/ 4G and 64 Gig and a Galaxy Note 10.1 w/ 850/1900 3G connectivity. In either case both of these are less expensive than a wifi only version of all of the Clover Trail Atom tablets announced by Asus, Lenovo, Dell and HP. When comparing WIFI only models the iPad, Galaxy Note and Transformer Prime/Infinity are cheaper. With the ASUS Transformer line being just as versatile and still cheaper with the keyboard dock. Throw in a mifi and you have your on the go connectivity and you are still saving money. Intel is very late to the game and Windows 8 is not helping matters any. Whether it be the x86 or ARM version.

      • CyberGusa

        “In either case both of these are less expensive than a wifi only version
        of all of the Clover Trail Atom tablets announced by Asus, Lenovo, Dell
        and HP.”

        Wrong, the Thinkpad Tablet 2 offers Cellular service! The SIM card slot is right next to the microSD slot. Along with offering NFC and finger print reader as options.

        You’re also not factoring that the iPad 3 doesn’t offer a digitizer pen of any kind, no full size USB 2.0 port and no HDMI port without a dock adapter… among other features it lacks.

        While being late to the game doesn’t really mean much aside from needing to overcome market momentum.

        Really, Nvidia was late to the game too and now their Tegra 3 is one of the most popular options.

        While Windows 8 is the first time a desktop OS is really being offered to mobile devices!

      • Robert Jakiel

        From the Thinkpad Tablet 2 article.

        “The tablet has an IPS display, an 8MP camera on the back, and a 2MP camera on the front. It features a micro HDMI port, a full-sized USB port, and optional security features such as a fingerprint scanner or an active digitizer for use with a digital pen. Models with 3G and 4G mobile broadband connectivity will also be available.”

        The last sentence states that models 3G and 4G mobile connectivity will also be available. So the price they are quoting in the article is for a WIFI unit w/ keyboard dock @ $799. Think about that for ONE second. $799 for a freaking NETBOOK that has a touchscreen. Are you serious? You can grab an Asus Netbook based on the N2800 for about $300 and toss in some extra memory and a lower end SSD and would still be under $500 and get far better performance. These tablets really have no purpose. Intel, Microsoft and the manufacturers that are supporting them are creating a product looking for a niche to fill at a price that no one in their right minds would even consider.

      • CyberGusa

        “The last sentence states that models 3G and 4G mobile connectivity will also be available. So the price they are quoting in the article is for a WIFI unit w/ keyboard dock @ $799.”

        No, they’re also offering MS Office 2013. While the 3G/4G option may only require activation.

        Besides, you’re still getting things like the WACOM digitizer pen that easily costs as much, if not more, as getting a cellular modem.

        Along with full USB 2.0 port, which means you can connect pretty much any USB device and expect it to just work like it would with a normal PC, and other factors that give the system more value than you get with just the iPad 3 by itself.

        Never mind the previous point that Lenovo often sets prices higher than they actually sell…

        “You can grab an Asus Netbook based on the N2800 for about $300 and toss in some extra memory and a lower end SSD and would still be under $500 and get far better performance.”

        No, you wouldn’t as the Clover Trail Z2760 is about as powerful as the N2800. So performance will be about the same.

        Also the Asus 1025 series usually comes with only 1GB of RAM installed, along with no RAM access means you have to take the system completely apart to replace it. Provided of course you don’t get one with the RAM soldered. While the Clover Trail’s will all come with 2GB as standard!

        The whole thing will weigh a bit more as well and you’ll need a 6 cell to get around the same run time with the N2800.

        Never mind Cedar Trail lacks the always connected standby feature that only Medfield and Clover Trail offer. So like ARM you rarely ever have to turn them off.

        You’ll also be stuck with a 1024×600 TN screen with a netbook and won’t have the option of being fully mobile while using it as you can be with a tablet.

        Besides, Asus discontinued their Eee PC line… So it’s not like they’re giving us much of a choice!

        Though Acer seems to be holding out a bit longer on still making netbooks but it’s already becoming harder to find them in stock.

      • Robert Jakiel

        And? Getting a N2800 based netbook and throwing in some extra RAM and a mid range SSD will run you about $400 which is hundreds cheaper and just as functional if not more functional. Throw in Samsung galaxy Note 10.1 w/ a 32 gig MicoSD card for $500 and a MIFI w/ plan on top of it for $100 and your at $1000. You now have incredible flexibility and functionality whereas for $800 you get one of these Atom tablets with 3G/4G connectivity tack on at least another $75 – $100 for unit cost. Where’s the advantage? With multiple devices you have a bit of redundancy as well in case one fails.

      • CyberGusa

        First, you have less flexibility because you have to carry multiple devices in your scenario. Second, you wind up paying more for the same functionality. Third, you have to deal with more weight, more accessories, and more space usage that justs makes it harder to be portable and makes it harder for you to carry and use anything else.

        Sure, carrying multiple devices may be useful in case on fails but Windows tablets are less likely to fail, can be more easily recovered, and the other benefits will be every day. While redundancy may never be required.

        These Windows 8 tablets can serve as both a tablet and PC with minimum fuss.

        While you’re also only thinking of the worse case scenario because it won’t be long before these devices get cheaper. The lowest price so far actually starts at $599 for the Acer W510 but as these become more mainstream then even lower prices will be offered.

        Right now they’re all custom models and custom tend to be pricey regardless of type of device. Once they settle upon standards and mass produce then they can drive down costs.

      • Robert Jakiel

        OK now I have heard it all. Windows tablets are less likely to fail and can be easily recovered? That is the haha of the year. Anything Windows when it fails it fails HARD and easily recovered is not an option with Windows. That is from decades of experience in IT. Unix/Linux is less likely to fail and far more easily recovered than anything Microsoft has ever released or will release. Until I can tar /etc in Windows and mount /home and /opt on a separate drive then Windows will never ever be easier to recover.

      • CyberGusa

        “OK now I have heard it all. Windows tablets are less likely to fail and can be easily recovered? That is the haha of the year.”

        No, it’s the truth! You got a lot more options when dealing with a desktop OS than you do a mobile OS.

        You’re Unix/Linux experience doesn’t really apply to mobile OS. Android doesn’t even have a secure market with the Play Store like you would have on pretty much any desktop Linux repositories. Along with many limitations you wouldn’t have with a desktop Linux distro.

        Many times when a mobile device crashes you need a PC to fix it!

        While Windows 8 employs many features that you previously would attribute to desktop Linux. Like running apps sand boxed, can mount ISO’s natively, among many other features.

        Windows 8 also allows option to recovery the OS without needing to worry about restoring all apps (at least the modern UI apps). Among access to easier to use backup methods.

        Btw, the UnxUtils project on Sourceforge has lots of Windows versions of common Unix utilities without the need for Cygwin!

        Windows has also long had built-in support for the SMB/CIFS protocol, map network shares, etc.

      • Robert Jakiel

        My Unix and Linux experience translates very well to Android seeing that Android is nothing more than a Linux distro. The kernel is and always will be a Linux kernel. Current kernel for Android is built on the 3.x tree and the cutting edge custom kernels compiled using the Linaro offer a HUGE performance gain. Thee have been huge strides and seeing that the mainline linux kernel will have fully incorporated Android by the end of the 3.x development cycle the possibilities will be limitless. A prime example is Ubuntu on Android where is uses a shared kernel for both operating systems.

      • CyberGusa

        “My Unix and Linux experience translates very well to Android seeing that Android is nothing more than a Linux distro.”

        Sorry but that’s misleading, Android shares the Linux Kernel and more basic versions of some of the common tools but it’s not a GNU/Linux distro. Android is a mobile OS by design and thus far more limited than any desktop Linux distro!

        While re-merging the Android Kernel with the mainstream Linux Kernel may have some good potential but it will never change the fact Android is a mobile OS by design! So you can’t just treat Android like another Linux distro as you could with the over 600 GNU/Linux distros.

        Really, even after the re-merged Kernel Canonical still has a major project just to get a version of Ubuntu to work with Android, and that’s just so you could switch to it for a desktop mode instead of a more limited webtop.

        Mobile and desktop Linux is very different! Everything from how the OS operates, what tools it uses, and how everything is structured and executed from the ground up is different!

        So don’t confuse similarities with them being the same. You might as well compare Windows Phone 8 to desktop Windows 8, they may share the NT kernel but there’s a world of difference between them!

  • Robert Jakiel

    LOL! 2W TDP! Someone explain to me how this thing has a lower TDP than an ARM SoC yet the “Medfield” is the Atom that they stuck in the Android phones? This is so much hokum. Not to mention that the pricing on Windows 8 tablets with these chips is equal to or slightly greater than most Ultrabooks w/ 3rd gen. Core i5 processors. Why in the hell would anyone buy an $800+ tablet when they can get an Ultrabook that weighs slightly more and performs infinitely better? Intel has lost their direction and are just putting out chips for the sake of putting out chips.

    • CyberGusa

      What do you need explained? The Clover Trail has many of the same power optimizations as Medfield and is also a SoC.

      While most ARM SoC usually try to keep the TDP below 2W, which is why you still see dual cores even when quad cores are available for the same processor series.

      Thing is most power estimates you see online are just reporting total system power usage and that’s more than just the SoC.

      Components like the screen can easily add 2-6 watts to the total. Modems as well can reduce run time by a hour or more when constantly active.

      The actual SoC though rarely operates at full power and the low power states is something they excel at and is as the article points out is something Intel is finally introducing into their model chips.

      Even at full power though, they try to keep the SoC from using more than 2W most of the time.

      Like the S4 Krait for example only uses up to a max of 750mw per CPU core and another 850mw for the GPU. So it only goes over 2W if it’s configured for quad core.

      Mind Medfield Z2460 is single core, power consumption about on par with most dual core Cortex A9 phones. Actual clock speed is 1.3GHz, with Burst mode providing short term boost to 1.6GHz (originally) to 2GHz (newer tweaked release).

      So Clover Trail Z2760 is dual core but still manages to keep the max TDP to 2W.

      While tablets generally have always cost more than laptops of equal specs. Thing to realize though is you can use a tablet in situations where you can’t use a laptop, such as when standing and/or on the move. Along with situations where a tablet can be more useful for things like drawing, etc.

      Mind, as the article points out it’s not Intel setting these prices but the system makers.

      Like most of these pricey models include features like a WACOM digitizer pen. So they’re charging for some premium components and not just system performance.

      You also will still find it hard to find a Ultrabook that can give you 8-10 hours of run time yet.

      Maybe next year when the 10W Haswell comes out that will change but for now there are reasons why some people may still get these models.

      • Robert Jakiel

        Again. Intel’s whole strategy is DOA. Regardless of what the manufacturer throws in there to up the price of the final product. A smart shopper can grab an ultrabook for around $650 on sale at most places and then for another $200 – $250 grab a Nexus 7 or Acer A110. The price is the same or up to $100 for the combo but infinitely more powerful and flexible overall. In any case they have already priced themselves into obsolescence if going by Lenovo’s $800 MSRP for one of these abominations.

      • CyberGusa

        Again? Intel is just providing the SoC, they’re not the ones making these systems and setting the pricing!

        And most Ultrabooks still go for higher, they’re only starting to drop in pricing but most still have a way to go.

        While you’re Nexus 7 comparison ignores that it only provides you 8-16 GB of capacity (which is not even a SSD as most ARM tablets only use more basic Flash storage like used in SD cards and USB Flash drives instead of the higher performance SSDs used in PC’s) and can’t even run Windows. While these Windows 8 tablet start with 64GB SSDs!

        Never mind Google only breaks about even with the 8GB model and only really profits on the 16GB, so isn’t a business model most others can follow as most others don’t have alternative revenue sources to compensate them!

      • Robert Jakiel

        The system pricing is prohibitive for an x86. If an Atom version is going to tip the scales at $800 what the hell is a Core i3 or Core i5 version going to cost? $1000 – $1200? Now I mentioned the tablet in conjunction with the Ultrabook which would make for a far more powerful and flexible combination for a similar price point. With cloud storage options as well as bluetooth data transfer a lot can be accomplished. With the Acer A110 you also have MicroSD available to you. In any case these units, unless priced well below Ultrabook pricing, have already failed and haven’t even been launched.

      • CyberGusa

        It’s only prohibitive if you don’t factor that it’s a tablet! Tablets have always been higher priced than equivalent laptops of same performance, just like laptops have always cost more than equivalent performance desktops.

        A premium is expected for increased mobility and this is nothing new!

        Asus EP121, Samsung Series 7 XE700T, etc are all examples of Core i5 tablets priced $999 on up when they came out.

        While a Acer A110 may be cheap but it’s a low end tablet. Only the KF, Nook HD, and Nexus 7 are really providing you with the most bang for the price range.

        So doesn’t negate the fact that the ARM tablets that provide anywhere near the same specs are also priced very high as well!

      • Robert Jakiel

        The Acer A110 has the same guts and OS as the Nexus 7 with the addition of a MicroSD card.

      • CyberGusa

        You’re mistaken if you think just having similar SoC makes them equivalent.

        Acer A110 for example only has a 1,024 x 600 pixels resolution screen, vs 1280 x 800 IPS for the Nexus 7 (this accounts for quite a bit of the system cost). The Tegra 3 is also slower clocked than the Nexus 7 at
        1.2GHz. While the Nexus 7 is clocked at 1.3GHz…

        Nexus 7 also has a larger 4325mAh battery vs the Acer A110’s 3420mAh.

        The A110 is also thicker at 11.4mm vs the Nexus 7 10.45mm, helping to account for a 20g difference in weight in the Nexus 7’s favor.

        Acer tend to reduce cost by reducing build quality and this is largely how they managed to get a close to Nexus 7 pricing but it’s still $20 more.

        Mind that Clover Trail systems have a minimum of 1366×768 IPS resolution and some will offer 1920×1200 IPS resolution! Along with other higher minimum specs. So it’s harder for system makers to reduce quality!

      • Robert Jakiel

        On a 10″ screen you’re really not going to notice especially when using it as a tablet with smudges everywhere. As for speed steps in the Tegra3, who cares? That’s what a custom kernel is for and you can just overclock and undervolt thus gaining performance while lowering power usage and staying within the operating temperatures of the unit. To tout a 1920×1200 IPS screen on an Atom based tablet is kind of funny. The embedded GPU will be doing more work drawing pixels and doing fills. Knowing that the Atom has a craptastic embedded GPU means even worse performance graphically with a higher resolution display.

      • CyberGusa

        Yes, you can notice because you hold a tablet closer than you would a laptop. So screen quality if more important and is why Apple can get away with the whole retina marketing.

        And again on the custom kernel, that won’t apply to the majority of users! Really, any device can be modded and improved but it’s what it offers out of the box that we’re discussing here!

        While the present 32nm ATOMs are using Imagination PowerVR GPU’s. So offer similar performance to other mobile ARM SoCs that use the same PowerVR GPU’s…

        Like TI OMAPs, Apple’s A4-A6, PS Vita, etc.! Clover Trail is either getting a GMA based on the SGX545 (just like Cedar Trail) or a dual SGX544MP2 (which the dual core version of Medfield is getting). In either case the performance will be close to what the iPad 3 offers!

        So don’t confuse with the previous ATOM GMA’s, Cedar Trail has already shown it’s 2-3x the older GMA 3150 for example.

        Besides, even the older ATOMs have supported 1366×768 on the 11.6″ to 12″ models.

        While AMD is slowly moving in as well with even better graphics. The upcoming 4.5W Hondo APU has already shown at least one benchmark rendering test that produced around double the fps as a Asus Transformer Prime could manage.

        And next year AMD will be released the 2W 28nm Tamesh APU to really start competing in the tablet market.

        Just in time to join in as Intel starts to roll out its 22nm update.

    • kdsmanu

      ..and yet it beat the 2011’s Intel N2600 in terms of performance [Atom Z2760 benchmark]

  • 1stkorean

    although i would not want an itoy even if cook brought it to me, but these prices are going to kill these evices before they are in the stores. ms has a real opportunity here to step up with the surface and price it right.

  • artinvent

    Considering the SSD that’s required for a zippy and thin tablet form factor, and the fact that if you’re running full Windows you really need a 128GB minimum – that’s probably a large part what’s keeping the cost of things well above some crummy Atom netbook with a $25 HDD.

    I have to wonder if maybe someone will come out with a budget model with a special thin HDD, maybe a touch of hybrid SSD. That might actually be preferable anyway so you have quite a bit more storage.

    • CyberGusa

      It’s possible, HDD makers are coming out with 5mm thick drives, some are even hybrids, specifically for Ultrabooks and those are perfectly applicable to at least some tablet models.

      Also, like the article stated, Intel apparently stated there will be more affordable budget models.

      Many of the ones being presented so far for example include premium features like WACOM digitizer pen. Something most tablets don’t have, including apparently the Windows RT models.

      So they should be able to provide better pricing for a more basic tablet.

      The Acer W510 for example should have a starting price of $599 and that’s with the 64GB capacity.

      Basically, Windows RT models should provide 32GB to 64GB, and the WIndows 8/Pro models are set for 64GB to 128GB.

      Windows 8 takes up less drive space than Windows 7, which helps a bit, but all models should offer microSD/SD options and full USB 2.0 ports for Flash drive usage.

      However, we are getting close to the time period that SSD price/capacity ratio is set for its next improvement. Since just like HDDs SSDs improve over time. So over the next year we should slowly see higher capacities offered.

      While competition and market pressure should steadily reduce pricing as well.

      • Robert Jakiel

        Windows RT is DOA. The moment Microsoft announced that MS Office for Windows RT has been hobbled it became far less interesting. Without the inclusion of Outlook, at a minimum, these tablets have no more appeal to the market than an iPad, Nexus 7 or any number of high end Android 10″ tablets.

      • CyberGusa

        Windows RT future is uncertain, it may be DOA or it may do very well.

        Outlook’s absence is one of the questionable choices but it may not really be needed to be installed anymore because they’re replacing Hotmail with a online version of Outlook.

        While we aren’t certain MS won’t put Outlook in later as RT is shipping with a preview version and will get the free upgrade to full version later.

        There’s really a lot of uncertainty as a lot is happening in a very short period of time.

        Some of the choices though make perfect sense for a mobile devices as some features would just cause the system to consume more power without much benefit and not everyone necessarily needs all those features in a mobile system.

        RT, much like Android and iOS, is mainly for consumption type usage. So it remains to be seen if it will appeal or not to its target consumer base.

        Mind though that MS is leveraging cross platform compatibility with Windows 8 for apps made for the modern UI. While also leveraging cloud based services, Office 365, and even their XBox Live service.

        So nothing is certain for right now on how RT will be received.

      • Robert Jakiel

        How is it that it is for consumption type usage? I use my Transformer Prime and Transformer every day for work with and without the docks depending on what I am doing. Anything from document creation and editing to system administration and remote access. Coupled with Citrix, Splashtop, RDP clients, Cisco Any Connect and a ton of command line utilities it has replaced my laptop for 95% of what I do on a daily basis. Coupled with a smartphone and tethering and I am able to do anything, anywhere, anytime.

      • CyberGusa

        It’s for consumption because that’s what it’s most efficient at being used for! There’s a reason why Android isn’t being used on any laptops besides convertible tablets and it’s not just because of the lack of touch screens!

        Really, there’s plenty you can’t do!

        Even something as simple as connect a Blu Ray drive to your Transformer because Android can’t play Blu Rays!

        Android still has to develop a proper desktop Mode, they keep experimenting with Webtop, etc but there’s a reason why Google is working with Canonical to get Ubuntu to run with Android for a literal desktop mode.

        A Clover Trail system won’t need Citrix to run Office, etc. and so won’t depend as much on being online to be useful.

        Never mind, most regular consumers just use the devices as is and that’s where how the OS is design factors the most, and not how you can work around the limitations as you’ve done.

      • Robert Jakiel

        I don’t require Citrix to run Office. I just mentioned Citrix as an available tool in the arsenal. Office Suite Pro v6 does an excellent job on the local device handling MS formatted documents. As for Blu-Ray no you can’t just plug one in but you can plug in a DVD drive and play a movie or for that matter blu ray digital copies in HD either on the MicroSD or an external thumb drive/hard drive when plugged into the dock. I can also use those external storage mediums just as I would on a regular laptop running Linux/Windows for document storage, media, etc… Most of my work is done locally on the device and the online components only used to making synchronizing data between multiple devices easier through Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and Ubuntu One.

        This is only with the tablets. If I were to use them in combination with an ultrabook or even a fairly potent netbook running an SSD the flexibility and power it offers is far greater for an equal or lesser price. Manufacturers, Intel and Microsoft have to come up with some type of pricing scheme or licensing schemes to make these attractive to regular consumers. Particularly because most consumers are somewhat tech savvy nowadays and do some research on the web prior to making a purchase.

      • CyberGusa

        “Office Suite Pro v6 does an excellent job on the local device handling MS formatted documents”

        Not as good as using MS Office!

        ” As for Blu-Ray no you can’t just plug one in but you can plug in a DVD drive and play a movie or for that matter blu ray digital copies in HD either on the MicroSD or an external thumb drive/hard drive when plugged into the dock.”

        DVD’s don’t provide Blu Ray quality and most digital copies are also at lower resolution, as well as don’t provide you with access to the Extras, like behind the scenes, making of, etc.

        “I can also use those external storage mediums just as I would on a regular laptop running Linux/Windows for document storage, media, etc…”

        Not entirely, there are situations where you are limited on these mobile devices that you wouldn’t be on a PC.

        Take when connecting your phone to a PC, the USB connection mode means your phone can’t use the memory card while it’s being accessed by the PC… A potential pain with how that can cause data corruption, especially if you have any apps installed on the memory card instead of the device’s internal storage.

        This is one of the reasons why Google doesn’t usually provide a card option on any of their Nexus products.

        Hardware support for connected devices is also something still being developed for Android. So you can’t be as sure as you would be on a PC that a USB device will just work!

        Also, most apps made for Android/iOS cater to the lowest common denominator. So you’re more likely to get a more capable and feature rich app on a PC.

        Like Adobe Photoshop Touch is really nice but it pales in comparison to what could be done with the desktop Photoshop CS6.

        Thus why services like Citrix even exist because for productivity, nothing yet really competes with desktop apps.

        You may manage fine with what you do but whether you realize it or not you’re compromising and working around the limitations for a platform that was really meant for consumption usage.

      • Robert Jakiel

        I can access my USB storage on my phone while plugged into the PC simultaneously. When rooted and running a custom ROM and kernel that can be done. As for your Photoshop example.. LOL! You’re not running CS6 on an Atom any time soon. Office Suite Pro 6 is just as capable if not more capable than the hobbled MS Office MS is including in RT but not as good as the full Office.

      • CyberGusa

        No, you can’t access the microSD/SD while your phone is docked! You can only access the internal drive in that state from both the phone and the PC. The memory card though gets mounted and that cuts it off from the phone.

        They are working on ways to get around that issue but it’s a compromise and it’ll be awhile before they can perfect it.

        Besides, most people never change the OS from the pre-install. So custom ROMs don’t factor for most people!

        For Photoshop, sorry but ATOM can run it too. It will just be annoyingly slow if doing more than basic editing.

        And no, while Office Suite Pro 6 is pretty capable for a mobile app but it’s not more so than MS Office.

        Really, no mobile app can really fully compete with a fully developed desktop app because it will always be hobbled by the limitations of a mobile OS, which is by design limited to allow it to easily run on low end hardware.

        For example, even simple things like being able to print to any printer you want is harder to do on a mobile OS. So even RT version of Office is more capable!

        The only thing is Office Suite Pro will probably be easier to use with touch only usage. Since MS Office is still mostly optimized for desktop usage.

      • Robert Jakiel

        Yes I can

        https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rafoid.multimountsdcard.widget&hl=en

        What the parameters change? Custom ROMs and kernels factor just as much as a stock image that is rooted and allows the use of the above utility. As for printing I can print to any printer in my office or I can use Google cloud printing. Saying that CS6 would be slow on an Atom is the understatement of the century. It would bring an Atom based unit to a crawl. In any case these devices are destined to fail at the price points they are being sold at.

      • CyberGusa

        Sorry but first that’s a root only app (so a large number of people will never use it) and second it’s not really allowing you to do it simultaneously but is actually just Auto-un/mounting!

        Really, there’s lots of limitations with mobile OS. This is just one of them!

  • The Calm Critic

    “Unfortunately the graphics core in the Z2760 processor is a PowerVR core design licensed from Imagination Technologies. That means Intel wouldn’t have the rights to distribute source code for Clover Trail graphics even if the company wanted to… and Imagination hasn’t been very forthcoming with source code in the past.”

    True… Though until today I still struggle to understand as to why. Yes you’d put out codes as/when need to do so basis (in this case clearly cost/resource savings vs. percentage of market served) but how hard is it to just do it? Either Imagination are just lazy OR its devs have an irrational collective level of hate towards Linux?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1675843628 Ern Privado

    Driver support for windows 8 for atom processors?? PLEASE…. how about the old tablet devices

  • Hippomsg

    Intel will not only be providing the third-generation Core technology known as Ivy Bridge to computer makers, but will also be reviving the Atom name, a chip type that was previously used in the Netbook range.