Intel Takes Potshot at Tablet Form Factor While Promoting Ultrabooks

Paul Lilly

We're not out to make a mountain out of a mole hill, but it's interesting on a number of levels that a chip giant like Intel would cut down the tablet market in order to promote its own Ultrabook form factor. It's interesting because Intel doesn't typically diss on form factors, and also because the Santa Clara chip maker would love to challenge ARM on what's become its home turf, and in fact will make a serious run at slates later this year.

Intel closed out 2011 by launching an Ultrabook Community portal, and one of the documents sitting front and center on this new page is a PDF titled " Ultrabook Overview ."

"Since the original era of tablets flopped, we have seen notebooks, netbooks, endless smartphones configurations, and most recently the second generation of tablet devices," writes Shirley Chen, a Technical Marketing Engineer with Intel.

Ms. Chen notes that the new generation of tablet PCs have become "hugely popular," but also marred in ways that don't affect Ultrabooks.

"Tablets have introduced some great features that support some of these use cases with longer battery life and touch capabilities in order to provide a more enriched experience," Chen states. "However the screens are still small, local storage is generally miniscule and restrictive, and tablets lack performance compared to that of a traditional PC."

These are all valid points and Chen is carefully not to go over the top and rage against tablets, but by bringing these points to attention, Intel isn't just promoting its Ultrabook form factor, it's also inadvertently setting a mental bar on what a tablet PC should be like. When Intel takes a serious stab at slates later this year, these words could come back to bite the chip maker on the backside, unless of course those upcoming Wintel tablets are bigger, more powerful, and packed with more storage capacity than the current crop of tablets.

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