Recently Intel CEO Paul Otellini said he sees a future where you can buy an ultrathin notebook featuring an Intel Atom Bay Trail processor for as little as $200. Now CNET has a few more details about Intel’s vision for the future of cheap notebooks, and that vision includes Google Android.

Bay Trail

While it’s possible that we could see Windows 8 notebooks at similarly low prices, it’s likely that device makers will stick to Android or other platforms that have lower licensing costs.

Microsoft charges PC makers a fee for every device they ship with Windows software. While there are patent fees and other charges associated with loading a notebook or tablet with  Android software, Google makes its operating system available free of charge. So it’s not surprising that Android products tend to cost less than Windows devices.

A few years ago PC makers took a similar approach toward cutting costs in netbook computers. Some of the first netbooks shipped with Linux-based software such as Xandros, Linpus Linux Light, and OpenSUSE. Microsoft responded by offering low-cost Windows XP (and later Windows 7 Starter) licenses, and for the past few years Linux-powered netbooks have been the exception, not the rule.

But Android-powered notebooks (or convertible tablets) could be in a stronger position than Linux-powered netbooks. There are millions of Android phones and tablets already in the wild, which means that many potential customers are already familiar with the operating system. Android also arguably has a lower learning curve than Ubuntu or other desktop Linux operating systems, and there are hundreds of thousands of apps available for Android devices.

While there’s definitely a group of folks who would prefer an Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora (or even ChromeOS) mini-laptop to one running Android, I’m not surprised to see Intel banking on Android for low-cost notebooks. It’s a trusted brand that’s already proven popular with consumers.

Of course, if Microsoft feels its profit margins are threatened by a surge in sales of low-cost Android notebooks, the company could offer price breaks to PC makers the same way it did a few years ago and we could start to see $200 mini-laptops with Atom chips and Windows 8 software.

And since Intel’s Bay Trail chips are expected to offer twice the performance of earlier Intel Atom chips, that means you may soon be able to pick up a low-cost, small form-factor notebook that’s powerful enough to act as your primary computer.

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53 replies on “Those $200 notebooks Intel is promising will probably run Android”

  1. That’s all fine and good, but will these Intel-based machines be able to run all of the ARM-based Android apps that my smart phone (or someone else’s Google Nexus) can run? Also, if a device running Android doesn’t have a touch screen, then count me out.

    Also, Google should learn from Microsoft’s cautionary tale that people have different types of devices that they interact with in different ways. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to modern computing devices. Is it too much to ask for an operating system to have customizable modes based on the type of device? (Phone, tablet, desktop) Your experience should match your device. Android is all about customization, right?

    Finally, I’m OK with Google keeping Chrome OS around as a nod to that customization IF they build a proper Android emulator within the browser to take advantage of all the Android apps. Perhaps even those of us using the Chrome browser in Windows like I am right now could take advantage. That could mean big money for the Google Play store.

  2. This is a sober assessment by Intel which has concluded based on the market that Windows 8 on Atom is unsellable. Since Windows RT (on ARM) has also proved to be unsellable. Since the Intel-core powered hot, heavy fan cooled, and expensive “brick crossed with a hairdryer” ultrabook class tablet/hybrid has also proven unsellable, it is effectively it is an acceptance by Intel that Windows tablets and hybrids are dead. Windows 8 laptops with or without touch will no doubt continue to be sold and promoted by Intel.

    I think this is Google yielding to OEMs and manufacturers putting pressure on them to put Android on notebooks and hybrids, so that the OEMs and manufacturers can recoup some of their abortive hardware expenditure/investment on stock, R&D, and fabrication and manufacture of everything from chipsets and processors, to touch screens and actual devices made for Windows 8’s stalled bid to take on the tablet/hybrid market, by putting a touch OS on them that has a useable touch interface and plenty of touch apps. This is an area where Windows 8 has fallen woefully short in terms of apps and useability, and where ChromeOS cannot provide the necessary depth of touch functionality.

    1. “This is a sober assessment by Intel which has concluded based on the market that Windows 8 on Atom is unsellable.”

      They’ve made no such assessment, they’re simply stating the cheapest options will likely come with Android but they said nothing about not selling Windows 8 versions… They’re just likely to cost a bit more!

      If you’ve bothered to actually check the original statement from Intel, before they mentioned Android and when they first announced price ranges for upcoming Bay Trail products, they’re also still pushing hybrids as that price range was mentioned too!… They’re just going to a cost more than the low cost laptops…

      Google has been considering pushing Android on more than just mobile devices for a long time… options like web top for the Atrix, which Google still supports in Android form instead of a limited Ubuntu emulation like the original, are one of a couple of examples of that trend moving forward… It’s just hard to change a OS from its original designed use without starting over from scratch… So progress has been very slow!

      While Chrome OS is not a touch optimized OS… Though reportedly, Google will start adding touch support later but it may require a major redesign before it is really optimized for touch… Much like how Canonical took a long time to go from the original Unity UI to Ubuntu Touch, as such changes can’t be made easily.

  3. Android is terrible with a mouse and keyboard. Nobody in their right mind would say otherwise.

  4. For this to work, somebody needs to make an office suite for Android that works well with a keyboard. I’ve tried every rich-text editor/word processor program I can find, looking for one with reasonable productivity on a tablet and bluetooth keyboard. So far, they’ve all been “Dancing Poodles”. (They don’t really dance well at all, but you’re impressed anyway because they’re POODLES). Maybe that’s good enough for reading and maybe light editing of word documents on a phone, but to be useful (for me at least), a laptop needs a word processor that understands that “Control+B” toggles “Bold”, and that I DO NOT need 1/4 of the screen width wasted by showing me the margins AND some of the “desktop background” behind the “paper” to make it look like I’m typing on a type writer.

    1. But this may simply be a matter of the software needing a market. I can’t see any reason why some of the better suites for Android right now won’t adapt to a desktop world when it finally arrives. The number of people running Android x86 on desktops today is even fewer than those running “conventional” Linux desktop distros. 😉
      If major players start putting out hardware for business and consumer use running Android there is a legion of phone and tablet users ready to move. We need this “egg” before we’ll get the application “chickens.” This will be followed by a period of early-adopter use prior to mainstream acceptance.

  5. Under $200 Android powered notebooks with ARM processors already exist. You can buy one at Amazon, newegg, and other places right now. I would like to see reviews of these devices on Liliputing.

    The specs on these “Android Netbooks” don’t look very good. They are mostly made by companies I have never heard of before.

    I’d like to see HTC come out with a line of Android notebooks. They could do a good job making them. Other well known companies with Android expertise would be worried about losing sales of their Wintel notebooks, but HTC doesn’t sell notebooks, so they have nothing to lose.

    1. That’s probably just because of the build quality. I’m kind of curious about experimenting with one of those for journalism purposes, but I wouldn’t buy one. They might have better reputations if they were built by more reputable companies, though.

    2. For a time ARM based notebooks were called Smartbooks, being a combination of Smart Phone and Netbook… and they failed for a pretty basic reason… Android and mobile apps are optimized for touch only UI… So don’t work as well with just a keyboard and touch pad but no touch screen.

      Android has improved over the years since then but it’s still cumbersome without a touch screen… Pretty much the opposite reason why Windows hasn’t been useful on mobile devices prior to Windows 8.

      So, I think the mention of Android is either just an option for emerging markets or meant for the really mobile version of the ATOM that will actually go into Smart Phones!

      Unless of course they can get touch screens standard on even the lowest priced notebooks!

      1. I’m not interested in a 7″ screen and Android 2.x. Those are around $100.00 now. I’d like to know more about the 10″ plus models running Android 4. When you say it’s “pretty cumbersome,” is that from experience or do you have links to a review?

        1. I’m not talking about those cheap Android devices, which are mostly made from spare parts btw! and come with either Android or even Win CE…

          Smartbooks were mainstream from companies like Toshiba, look up the AC100 for a prime example… and you can find youtube videos showing it now being used with at least Android 4.0.4 (CM9) to show usability hasn’t really improved much…

          Really, even if the OS has improved in this regard, the majority of Android apps are pretty strictly optimized to be used on mobile devices with touch screens!

          Fact is most devices running Android are still phone like devices and that’s what most developers cater to…

          So, if these devices don’t come with a touch screen, then it’ll be better if they use a desktop Linux distro… But supposedly they are going to include a touch screen even in the lowest end systems… So we’ll see, but 10″ Smartbooks tend to start at the $200 mark without touch screens.

          Genesi’s Efika MX Smartbook is another example from a company trying to push ARM based netbooks for years but usually with a OS like Ubuntu because Android really isn’t meant to be used without a touch screen…

          1. The AC100 and the Efika MX both have 512MB of RAM. I don’t expect any device with that amount of RAM to fly running Android 4. That’s Samsung Galaxy S memory, three generations back now.

            I did see one video of the AC100 playing Angry Birds Star Wars. It looked OK to me. Another video of Android 4 running on the AC100 fairly well is here:


            So far, I see nothing to back up “cumbersome,” and Angry Birds, which looks like it was running OK, is definitely “optimized to be used on mobile screens,” and “isn’t really meant to be used without a touch screen.”

            I will keep an open mind about Android netbooks, you have clearly closed yours.

          2. Nope, just pointing out the fact the OS is clearly optimized for touch devices. Just like prior to Windows 8, Windows was optimized for keyboard and mouse usage!

            And no, 512MB of RAM isn’t holding it back! Android is a mobile OS and doesn’t need as much RAM as desktop OS. Even most Linux distros do fine with 512MB to 1GB of RAM.

            Needing more RAM is mainly for multi-tasking, and the newer games that push the limits of ARM performance.

            The cumbersomeness is pretty clear if you actual use a Android device with no touch screen… It wasn’t designed to be used with a keyboard and mouse… You can but just like using a desktop OS with only a touch screen, it’s not exactly ideal.

            It’s fine if you want to ignore those issues, there are people who think XP and Windows 7 were perfectly usable on tablets as well… So for some people it would be true but it’s unlikely for most people…

            Really, there wouldn’t be so many people trying to get Desktop Linux running on ARM devices if Android was ideal for every type of usage!

            Even Google splits there efforts between Android and Chrome!

          3. “The cumbersomeness is pretty clear if you actual use a Android device with no touch screen…”
            Have you done this? I asked you once before but I didn’t get an answer.

          4. Yes, I have, also Android also has other issues… Like less driver support than Windows. You still can’t plug & play as many devices as you can with Windows. Things like printers are hit or miss and you’ll usually need a special app.

            Options like game control remapping is still not that common.

            If you ever want to connect a Blu Ray player to a system running Android, it won’t work!

            Lots of examples… Android took years just to get optimized for tablets after releasing Honeycomb, partly because it took years for developers to seriously consider tablet form factor over phones but most apps are still designed with phones in mind…

            Even Chrome for Android is more limited than the desktop version…

            The reason Motorola bothered with giving the Atrix a desktop mode, which emulated Ubuntu btw, was because Android isn’t as usable with just a keyboard and mouse and since Google took over that company they’ve still got a desktop mode being developed for future products… though they’re trying to base that version on Android but it’s not ready for mainstream.

            So anyone choosing a Android laptop should really consider what they would consider okay usage first.

            Android can be fine as long as the device includes a touch screen… Keyboard would be better for typing regardless, but the touch pad isn’t that great a replacement for a touch screen… You can’t be as precise with pinch to zoom, you’ll have more scrolling… while using a mouse would actually be a little worse as cursor takes longer to move around than just tapping what you want to tap, behavior still emulates touch, etc.

            A OS has to be designed from the ground up for the type of Input controls it’ll be optimized to be used with and there’s little use denying that Android is a touch optimized OS!

            Mind that cumbersome doesn’t mean crippled, just harder to work with than the alternative… Point is, this isn’t the first time they’ve considered Android notebooks, and there’s little changed now that would change the results from previous!

          5. Three words on your own personal experience, and many paragraphs of platitudes that anyone can find on the web. This discussion is not worth continuing.

          6. My own personal experience reflects everything I’ve been stating… What more do you want me to say, its a fact Android is optimized for touch and wasn’t originally designed with a keyboard and mouse in mind!

            They’ve made improvements over the years but haven’t really changed that basic fact!

            Really, there’s a difference between keeping an open mind and trying to make something to be more than it is…

            Mind, I’m not saying Android would be useless or really crippled, just that it’s cumbersome if not used with a touch screen as it’s suppose to be used!

            Really, there are reasons why people still want to use a desktop OS and keep on trying to install desktop Linux on ARM devices!

            Android is a mobile OS and is designed for that purpose! But like anything designed for a specific purpose, out of its natural element it doesn’t perform as well!

            It is the same as pointing out how desktop OS aren’t optimized for mobile devices, Windows 8 being the first mainstream version that tries to be good at both but like anything that tries to be good at multiple things it can only reach a compromise.

            Really, let’s turn your question around and say, have you ever tried using Windows on a tablet before Windows 8?

            Why do you think people are complaining about Modern UI on desktops? It’s because it’s optimized for mobile usage instead of traditional desktop!

            But this is even more true of Android, which doesn’t yet have a desktop mode!

            So using Android for a notebook makes about as much sense as using a tablet with Windows 7. Just because you can do it doesn’t mean it’s going to be popular or that good of an idea!

          7. There was this one kid in my gym class in High School. We would play basketball, and after every basket, this kid would grab the ball, take it down to the other end of the court, and shoot a layup. Every single time there was a basket he did this. In his own mind, he won every game and he was the best player in the class.

            You are that kid.

          8. Nope, it’s more like that kid is working hard practicing to be good at what he does and learning from past mistakes.

            Really, we either learn from history and improve or ignore and repeat past mistakes again and again!

            Smartbooks have been tried, and many of the same reasons why are why it took Windows over a decade to change itself to be usable on mobile devices and not just desktops.

            The same change is needed for Android before it can be serious considered as a desktop OS alternative for more than mobile usage as it was designed!

            Besides, by all accounts they’ll be including a touch screen.

          9. I still have an AC100; ‘smartbook’ somewhere; the good news was that It was small; light and had no moving parts; so I figured it would probably last a long time.
            I stopped using it when half the back light died three months after I purchased it; the screen was total junk even when the lighting did work properly.
            It was really quite painful to use and could run virtually no Android Apps at all.
            The mouse pointer was slow; would sometimes vanish from the screen; and was always hit and miss.
            Amazingly even the battery life was disappointing.

      2. I think these are for $200 touchscreen and hybrid laptops. It makes no sense to use Android unless the device has a touchscreen. There are plenty of Windows touchscreen laptops and hybrids that are stuck on the shelves and not selling. The mainstream manufacturers like Intel, touch screen manufacturers, and Windows 8 OEMs are looking to recoup their losses on money they have invested on these devices, and since Windows 8 seems to be unsellable on those devices, they are looking at Android to sell them.

        Your basic facts about Smartbooks are wrong. Netbooks were Intel based, never ARM based, and there were never ever any ARM based netbooks. They failed because Microsoft effectively paid the OEMs not to put Linux on them by imposing a set of Windows licensing and advertising rebates (mainly on more expensive laptops) to keep them from pre-installing Linux on netbooks. However they put arbitrary restrictions on Windows netbooks such as screen size, processor power, and put a crippled version of Windows on them in order to prevent them from cannibalising Windows notebook sales. Microsoft finally removed the subsidies on netbooks at the start of this year to make way for Clover |Trail and Bay trail Atom powered ix86 Windows 8 Pro tablets, hybrids and touch laptops – which are basically grossly overpriced $500+ Atom powered netbooks, which which they would otherwise compete and kill off – the same ones that Intel is proposing to put Android on. Smartbooks was a term for ARM based Linux Netbooks proposed by Qualcom an ARM chip manufacturer, but were never put into production. They were never intended to be Android based, and Intel certainly isn’t promoting ARM based chips here.

        1. Possibly, but it’s Intel stating this and not the OEMs and Everything is sellable if sold cheap enough… Fire sales have proven that time and again.

          1. Firesales is what is happening now to Windows 8 tablet and hybrid devices right now. Intel and Windows 8 OEMs recon they can sell more and get more money out of putting Android on the unsellable Windows 8 devices, which is why they are promoting them. The article suggests Windows 8 OEMs are also pushing for this.

          2. No, what’s happening now is just a reduction of pricing for most Windows 8 devices… Fire sales are when they start selling at an obvious loss but they’re still making small profits with the prices they’re charging now.

            While OEMs haven’t been asked! The article is based on a statement from a Intel representative, and everything else is speculation based on the assumptions that the popularity of mobile devices will translate into other devices.

            It just makes sense for OEMs to use a free OS if it can increase their bottom line vs a pay for OS that digs into their profit margins!

        2. Sorry but it never mattered to consumers whether its ARM or X86 based! Besides, ATOMs are now competing directly with ARM!y

          Also, smartbooks were produced! Toshiba AC100 was one of several that simply failed to sell well… So you should recheck your facts!

          Bay Trail specs also push performance safely past netbook range for the first time and as pointed out before won’t be as locked down to just running the OS it came with! While the reasons why hybrids and touch screen laptops haven’t sold well is because they are still too expensive for most people but not because of the cost of Windows…

          Tablets are naturally going to cost more and things like touch screens do add cost. Also traditional window systems required a higher minimum performance to use a touch screen without a lot of lag.

          Windows 8 mostly fixes that but cost of systems still need to get lower and lots of people are just are waiting on next Gen hardware. Clover Trail being 32bit and lacking support of any OS but Windows 8 didn’t help…

    3. The existing Android netbook class devices are replacing the $500-$600 Windows 8 Atom powered netbook class devices that Microsoft was trying to sell (now evidently unsuccessfully), including Microsoft’s own Windows 8 surface devices. The problem is that they are too slow to run proper Windows apps, and there aren’t enough Metro apps to make them viable, so customers have been avoiding them in droves.

      Intel will no doubt continue pushing Windows 8 on ultrabook class laptops, what Intel is saying here in the clearest language is that they have realised that Windows 8 is unsellable on sub $300 notebooks or hybrids, so we are switching to pushing Android for those.

      There are existing sub $200 Android notebooks from a few non-mainstream vendors. What you are seeing here are the mainstream OEMs and manufacturers led by Intel, pushing for Android supported by Google to sell hardware in order to recoup money they spend on stock, R&D, fabrication and manufacture and tooling etc. they spent on the failed Windows 8 tablets, hybrids and touchscreen laptops, which aren’t selling.

      1. Intel has reference designs for Intel powered Android phones and for tablets. If Intel comes out with an Android netbook reference design, that will be a sign that they are serious about this.

  6. If Microsoft can fix its UI issues with x86 Windows 8, it could be in a little bit better position vs. alternative OSs on lower cost devices, than MS has been so far in the current market, as these devices will run legacy x86 Windows apps. But MS isn’t out of the woods yet. As Brad mentions, unlike with the early netbooks, there are an enormous number of apps now available for Android, many of which are “good enough” for most people.

    Office doesn’t enjoy the hegemony it once had, not with communications being via email and social media, none of which require Office document compatibility.

    This is yet more proof of the widening rift (divorce?) between Intel and MS. Intel however has the advantage here, as the lower cost x86 devices will mean MS abandoning Windows RT. Intel wins no matter which OS (Windows or Android) emerges victor on this platform.

    Intel will have a family of products spanning low cost to high performance. AMD will have to create its own niche (I’m rooting for AMD to stay out of Intel’s way).

    1. Microsoft better get it’s act together on W/8 as you said, I think they will as they have everything to loose…there is a lot going on around them that is a serious threat: chrome 0/S, Android, Apple, so they better listen!

  7. I hope OEMs opt for a desktop Linux distro instead of Android. Hopefully, Dell will do it seeing that they’re still going forward with Sputnik and also released an Alienware X51 with Ubuntu.

    Android is nice for a phone, companion tablet or something to tinker with on those cheap sticks but on a notebook? Not so much.

    1. Agreed, desktop Linuxes would be better for these machines.

      The best would be Linux desktops which can run Android apps and have access to the Market.

  8. Every article about netbooks seems to mention that they aren’t powerful enough to be your primary computer… Screen size I can understand but I’ve been using a netbook as a primary computer for 2 years and I have no power/speed problems. Netbooks are only slow when running an OS too bloated for them. I’ve used Lubuntu on several netbooks and the startup speeds are impressive (faster than a Nexus 7 running Android). My experience is that an entry level netbook with Windows 7 is virtually unuseable out of the box, but with Lubuntu installed is the equivalent of a netbook that would be double the price.

    1. Yes, Lubuntu and other lightweight desktop Linuxes usually perform better than Win7.

      However, I just cannot imagine a 10″ machine as a primary computer for myself. I am using an ARM Chromebook as a secondary computer and it performs well in that role but even that 11.6″ screen feels a bit small sometimes.

    2. What’s powerful enough is just subjective. I guess the articles you’ve read say the Atom isn’t when running Windows but I’ve also read other articles where they say the opposite and, yes, they were using Windows.

      To me, an Atom, a 10″ screen and some desktop Linux distro is enough for a non-work main PC assuming all hardware works well (emphasis on well). For work, I’d need a non-ULV CPU, lots of RAM, virtualization support, a bigger screen (or at least can drive a monitor with > 1080p resolution).

    3. My Acer Aspire One is only starting to show its age now, but that’s because it physically doesn’t support anything more than 1.5GB of RAM. I’m still on Windows XP, and an SSD seems to have helped a little, but really, the only complaints that I might have are that it can’t output HD video and that the upgrade options are very limited. Can’t complain too much, since it was basically my work computer when I was a freelance sports reporter for a year and a half.

      1. I have an Acer Aspire One with Win XP and it ran great till it stopped working all together. I bought a newer Acer Aspire One with Win 7 starter and ran okay. It was frustrating since it did not run well on the netbook. I think Win XP is more of a netbook OS than Win 7 starter.

    4. It wasn’t until ATOMs went dual core that they provided enough performance to run Windows 7 but even then it required at least 2GB of RAM, but Windows 7 Starter Edition specifically requires the system be sold with only 1GB of RAM.

      Windows 8 is easier to run than Windows 7 and the Modern UI especially is optimized for mobile usage and thus is much easier to run than the desktop.

      Mind the main complaint about Windows 8 comes from users who don’t want to use it for mobility but rather traditional desktop.

      So it’s actually fine for tablets and small netbook like systems…

      While the ATOM may not have been architecturally improved much since it was first introduced over 5 years ago. But the ATOM has improved over 50% thanks to going from single core to dual core and FAB improvements have allowed for higher clock speeds.

      A dual core like the present Clover Trail actually outperforms some of AMD’s low end Brazos/Fusion APUs for CPU performance… Thanks to the fact AMD has to under clock to fit into anything smaller than 11.6″ and anything more than a few hundred MHz faster starts giving the ATOM the advantage.

      So it’s mainly graphically that Intel ATOM is still far behind… Originally 5x to 9x difference compared to AMD’s Brazos/Fusion APU’s but since switching to the Imagination PowerVR SGX545 based GMA’s that is now down to about 1.7x to 3x difference… and the GMA now supports hardware acceleration… So anything up to just over 20Mbps Bit Rate Blu Ray is now playable on a ATOM based device.

      The upcoming Bay Trail is the first major Architectural update for the ATOM and that means up to 50% CPU improvement that combined with upping max number of cores to quad means Bay Trail can provide up to 2x the performance of the present Clover Trail and the GMA based on the Ivy Bridge HD4000 will provide up to 3x the graphical performance… meaning Intel finally catches up to AMD’s Brazos/Fusion level graphics… Though that’ll still be behind their upcoming 28nm updates, but means these ATOM based systems can finally provide some decent performance for a little more than just basic usages.

      Support for features like Intel QuickSync also means options like video editing would be far more practical then…

      It helps that Intel will finally push their 64bit advantage and allow Bay Trail to support up to 8GB of RAM… The demo laptop unit they’ve been showing off is already equipped with 8GB of RAM and USB 3 is the other long overdue update.

      For Linux users, it has traditionally been easier to get most distros to run a ATOM based netbook than it has been to port to ARM… So it’ll be good news for both Windows and Linux users if Intel can really get prices that low for new devices.

      While for now, you can probably check out the Asus 1015E, it’s a 10″ notebook with Celeron 847 at 1.1GHz, which is already more powerful than traditional netbooks and is priced at just $299…. No touch screen but the support page lists both Windows 8 and Ubuntu for OS…

      So at the very least it will have full driver support for Linux…

    5. Yup, me too. I’ve been using an MSI U130 netbook as my primary machine for years now. I beefed up the SDRAM and loaded Windows XP. It works perfectly for me. Great battery life and super portability. The death of this U130 however is when Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows XP next year. I’ve found Win7 too sluggish on this machine. The next upgrade will be to Linux on this little guy.

  9. Is Microsoft asleep at the wheel? The Android tablet manufacturers all tried to match the iPad when Honeycomb came out, it was rare the tablet that had a screen size smaller than 9″ and cheaper than $450. Now, the best-selling tablets are all cheaper than $250 and have a 7″ screen.

    They don’t match the iPad. Amazon saw this and came out with the Kindle Fire before introducing the Kindle Fire 8.9. Google released the Nexus 7 before the Nexus 10. Microsoft decided to do it backwards and have all partners release tablets that were larger than 9″ and at least $500.

    Now the situation is such that there are whispers that netbooks will transition to Android. The Honeycomb situation was tablet manufacturers looking for easy cash, but the situation with Windows 8 is trickier because Microsoft still insists on licensing Windows 8 at a significant fraction of the price of tablets/netbooks.

    1. Microsoft is offering discounts since early this year. They offer Windows 8 and Office for $30 on sub 10.8″ screened devices. Larger devices get discounts without the Office bundle as well.

      That’s not bad considering OEMs often put bloatware to negate the Windows license which can easily be removed by the average user unlike the bloatware put on pre-installed Android builds.

      1. The same old story. Microsoft will practically give away Windows for free (and even slaps some crippled version of Office on them) just to stop competitors somehow.

        I am wondering though whether M$ will be successful this time. Chinese low-cost manufacturers are pretty much bent on Android at the moment. Microsoft will actually have to pay them to do Windows machines.

        1. Though, MS wouldn’t entirely lose out even then with the money they make off Android and anything using exFAT partitions, like SDXC cards, etc… It just won’t be anywhere near as much as getting those same devices with Windows installed…

        2. Microsoft did that successfully with Windows licensing/advertising rebates on (mainly higher end) Windows OS licensing in order to stop OEMs pre-installing Linux on low end netbooks. However this is more difficult to do now because OEM profits from Windows on PCs/laptops at all price levels are marginal. In the current market, Microsoft can’t simply hike up the license fees on their other PCs/laptops in order to fund loss making subsidies to sub $300 devices for anti-competitive reasons unless they themselves are willing to take a big hit on profitability.

          Besides this, Android is very snappy and functional on these Atom powered sub $200 devices in a way that no Windows OS other than RT is, and RT is a total failure because of the lack of any applications.

      2. Who the hell would buy a computer that can only run MS Office (badly) and nothing else? You need an i-core processor, 4GB RAM, 12″ screen, and 128GB hard drive, $600+ devices as a bare minimum for running proper Windows apps (as opposed to the non-existent Metro touch apps). These $200 don’t cut it for running Windows – that’s why Intel is saying they will mainly run Android.

        1. No, Bay Trail has more than enough performance to run Windows and can even handle some basic video editing and other tasks you would never had done with a netbook!

          As for Windows Apps, the number has steadily been increasing since Windows 8 was released. The overall app count increased by 1,877 this week to 44,355 apps in the
          US Windows Store, with Free apps having increased by 1,372 to a total of 34,802, and paid & trial apps by 505 to 9553 apps.

  10. Brad, do not forget Kabini/temash when you mention low cost tablets and small form factor notebooks/hybrid/convertibles…these will be available way before Bay Trail and will offer compelling performance on both the CPU/GPU not to mention decent pricing and therefore lower cost devices! These 2 platforms will be the best products to come out of AMD since the K-8…they will make the small form factor a interesting space again!

    1. How much does the CPU/APU affect the overall cost of a device? How much would these AMD chips cost compared to Atom and ULV Core i chips?

      1. The cost for these low power APU’s from AMD is about $40 to $75 whereas a Core Chip from Intel is around $ 250 +/- $50 so it will be a lot easier to build a high value device using The AMD platform than Intel…as for Bay Trail you will see very few of these devices in 2013 as it will not be widely available until 2014 and Intel is the most expensive chip manufacturer period!

        1. How do these $40 to $70 AMD chips compare with Atom? Just the CPU part since I don’t do any gaming.

          1. Presently, the AMD CPU is better… Intel ATOM hasn’t been architecturally updated since it was first introduced over 5 years ago… Just little improvements like dual core and faster clocks over time but it still uses In Order Processing, etc.

            AMD, though, has nothing that can go into a mobile device… The first try at that category will be the upcoming Temash, which is their first SoC…

            However, it’ll still be awhile before AMD can fully go into the mobile market as Temash still lacks the advance power management required to full optimize it for mobile usage.

            Intel has already achieved this with their present ATOM SoCs. So you can see ATOMs in everything from Smart Phones to Tablets… The Cost of the Clover Trail Z2760 also is only $41 or less in higher quantity!

            Main selling point for AMD’s APUs are the superior graphical performance.

            Because of they are behind on power efficiency, the Brazos/Fusion APU’s had to be under clocked for anything smaller than 11.6″… So the CPU advantage is countered for AMD’s lower end processors… since a Bobcat Clocked at 1GHz can still be beaten by a ATOM clocked at just a few MHz faster and Clover Trail is a 1.8GHz ATOM!

            For Bay Trail, the max clock increases to 2.1GHz, combined with architectural improvements to provide a 50% performance boost that combined with up to quad cores means up to 2x the performance of Clover Trail… the up to 3x better graphics also rival AMD’s present low end APU’s…

        2. Intel’s higher end chips are definitely the most expensive but this is not true of the ATOM SoCs!

          Since Intel’s ATOM SoCs are being priced to compete with the cost of ARM SoCs… The Clover Trail Z2760 has a listed TRAY cost of just $41 for example.

          AMD’s low power APU’s also actually range from $36 to $122.

          While Intel’s Bay Trail will reduce costs as they move from the present 32nm to the much smaller 22nm FAB.

          AMD on the other hand is only moving to 28nm this year and still won’t be offering advance power management features that will be required to really compete in the mobile market.

          AMD’s Temash is their first SoC but only the dual core version can be fan-less, but won’t offer features like always connected standby or instant on. While Intel will be offering such features even for their higher end Haswell.

          So, while only the ATOM may be priced lower than AMD’s offerings, Intel may still leverage other factors to compensate for the price difference for their higher end products.

          While Bay Trail may still be more popular because up to 2x CPU and 3x GPU, compared to present Clover Trail, puts the ATOM in a much stronger position than it is now… And even the quad core version will be fan-less and be more mobile than AMD’s solutions!

      2. The increased cost for battery and cooling would add $25-$30, and significantly increase weight. Weight is what you don’t want in a convertible slate.

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