Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini spoke fairly openly at today’s Barclay Capital Global Technology Conference in San Francisco. While much of Intel’s focus will remain within traditional form factors like desktop PC’s and Notebooks for the immediate future, the company suggests increasing awareness surrounding two key markets – smart phones and you guessed it, Tablets.
Putting aside the fact Intel is barely noticeable within the smart phone category – being overshadowed by Qualcomm and ARM – and getting right back into what we care about, Tablets, Otellini would go on to say that “Intel has already won 35 designs for its tablet chips” to date. A lot of which we may see at CES next month – by Toshiba, Dell, Asus, Fujitsu, and the like, collectively putting out an array of Android and Windows7 based tablets slated for 2011.
With Intel Atom chips (Oak Trail and Moorestown being the commonly referred to names) leading the charge, it will be interesting to see just how powerful new Tablets will become as the market evolves. Clearly, the next push in Tablets will be to make them more powerful, and contain much of the power of traditional PC form factors. We’re not there yet, but this industry has just begun.
Having said that, Intel has clearly caught wind of the latest craze in consumer electronics.
The only thing that strikes me as funny, though, is that Otellini suggested that Tablets are a seemingly marginal threat to current form factor revenue streams, by saying today “Tablets are an additive to the PC market and are not having a negative effect on Netbook or Laptop shipments“.
With all due respect, I see pie all over this guys face right now. I couldn’t disagree more with his statement. And in fact, Paul Otellini said quite the opposite in November amid the media barrage of stories surrounding the constant decline in Netbook and Laptop sales following the iPad release – and I quote, “Tablets are now biting into PC sales by a few million units per quarter”.
Why the change in heart Paul? If anything, Tablets have become even more popular since November.
Financial analysts, Gartner, Forbes, etc, all forecast around an 8% decline in Netbook sales for 2011. If you take a look at the global consensus here, and in my opinion NOT giving enough credit to the emerging Tablet market, even the earliest predictions are suggesting impending doom for the Netbook among current markets (obviously not including certain foreign markets where Laptops are the latest and greatest).
HP and Acer are both down 300,000 – 400,000 Netbook shipments this year as is, and all we’ve got to show for it are the iPad and the Galaxy Tab to slice into the pie. What do you think will happen in 2011 when another 50 – 100 tablets hit the market, or two years from now where I literally cant conceive what level the technology will reach by then.
I know how to put two and two together. I just hope for the benefit of Intel that they do the same. Otherwise, they’re going to get lost in the smart phone industry, battling Qualcomm and ARM, and eventually piddle away over the next 5 years as competition within the chip market for Tablets intensifies.
Get it together, Intel, you’re almost on the right track.