Right now if you want to pick up a cheap Windows notebook with a touchscreen display, your best bet is probably the Asus VivoBook X202E or Q200, which sells for under $500. But chip maker Intel expects prices to go much lower once its next-generation Atom processors hit the streets.

Bay Trail

CNET reports that Intel CEO Paul Otellini says touch-enabled ultrathin notebook with Intel Atom Bay Trail chips could be priced as low as $200.

Intel’s low-power Atom chips tend to be some of the lowest-priced processors the company offers. And they have a long history of showing up in low-cost notebooks. The first Atom chip hit the streets in 2008, and it soon became a staple of netbook computers.

Recently Intel has focused on Atom chips for tablets and smartphones rather than notebooks, but later this year the company will launch its new Atom processors, code-named Bay Trail. They’re expected to offer twice the performance of the Clover Trail chips currently used in tablets and hybrid notebooks like the HP Envy X2, and significantly better graphics performance, while continuing to enable long battery life in mobile devices.

While Intel doesn’t set prices for notebooks and other computers made by companies using its chips, if Otellini thinks that we’ll see $200 notebooks, that’s a good indication that the chips will be relatively inexpensive. After all, device makers still need to pay for storage, memory, a display, case, and other components.

As Atom chips start to approach mainstream processors in terms of performance, Intel will be using price, among other things, to differentiate them from higher-end chips such as the upcoming 4th-generation Core processors, code-named Haswell. Those chips will offer much better performance than Bay Trail, while using far less power than earlier Core chips. In other words, they’ll probably show up in tablets and ultrathin notebooks too.


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14 replies on “Intel expects to see $200 touchscreen notebooks with Bay Trail chips”

  1. Yet another nail in the coffin for Windows RT and its ecosystem. Why settle for half-baked Windows RT when you can have the whole enchilada of Windows 8?

    1. Ya. RT was a big mistake not sure why MS jumped the gun on just having one OS

    2. I’m sure glad I didn’t buy a Surface RT…I don’t think many people did. I predict Windows RT will die shortly after Bay Trail hits the market.

  2. Why can’t we get any of the new Atom SoC chips as Logicboard/CPU combos to build our own desktop computers? Please, make it happen.

  3. This is nuts. I tried using a notebook with a touchscreen and Windows 8. The whole concept is ergonomically dumb. The notebook kept tipping back and my arm was tired from being constantly suspended over the screen. Then there’s the issue of fingerprints on the stupid shiny screen, which has enough glare problems in the first place!

    The person (or persons) who decided to get rid of the start button on Windows 8 and make it work like a tablet should be fired.

    Give me a cheaper Win7 netbook without the touch screen. I’ll put the savings toward a memory upgrade.

    1. You can do this already by just buying a refurbed netbook with current Atom, or Core i3 if you need more oomph.

  4. The license cost of Win8 will certainly not fit into this price range.

    So, we will see $200 Linux and Android tablets/laptops? Bring it on !!!

    1. Supposedly MS is offering OEMs a $30 per license deal for Windows 8 and Office for touch-screen devices under 10.8″. I wonder if they’re offering discounts on just Windows 8. Devices over 10.8″ gets a discount for Windows 8 only. Add to that the bloatware subsidies OEMs can get.

      If a Windows device costs the same or a little bit more than a Linux or no OS one then I’d go for the Windows one in order to get a Windows and maybe even an Office license. I can just install Linux myself.

  5. For $200 expect low resolution screen with poor viewing angles and color accuracy, short battery life, very little onboard storage and little RAM…but it will be cheap!

    1. Why? You can get a tablet that outperforms a $500 Ipad or Samsung Tab for less than $200. And with all the ports you need at 1280×800. Granted graphics chip are the real problem here. Current Atom run win8 flawless and for about 12 hours. New atom will double all that at half the price.

  6. Probably the right move for Intel, but just further confirmation that there is huge revenue compression in the hardware space. The $2000 laptop became the $1000 laptop long ago, and now we’re headed to the $200 laptop b/c of devices like the Nexus 7 (which will continue to move down to $149 or $99 in the next year).

  7. Intel didn’t say how big (or small) these notebooks would be, or what they will or will not include. Likely omissions: Windows OS, higher capacity batteries, RAM, bigger storage, faster or newer CPU, etc. I’m thinking along the lines of the Sylvania netbook that seems to have had a retail price at intro of $200.


    Of course, Intel can say all it wants since it’ll be enjoying fat margins while the computer makers might have made more money if they were in the supermarket business instead.

    1. Most of Intel’s fat margins are for their higher end products, ATOM is in the low end and they need to keep pricing competitive with ARM and no more than a few bucks higher than the highest ARM offers.

      Intel also wants to get into Smart Phones… So it’s likely they’re pushing the limits for ATOM pricing.

      The present Clover Trail is just $41 for example and as a SoC that includes all three chipsets from the CPU to the GPU…

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