Intel promises Ultrabooks will become Tablet PCs

Intel promises Ultrabooks will become Tablet PCs

Summary: Intel sees the new Ultrabook evolving into a convertible notebook. It seems the company has forgotten the Tablet PC has been around for a decade.


Intel talked up the new Ultrabook at a technology conference this week, and excitedly described the "new" category evolving to include swivel screens with touch. According to Intel CFO Stacy Smith Ultrabooks of the future will combine the touch tablet with a laptop, apparently forgetting that's been done before.

"You'll have the ability to have flip screen, it'll be touch mode in certain situations [then] you flip it back around and it's a real productivity device. Now that's not going to happen in 2011, but in time that's how we're going to evolve this [Ultrabook] platform," he said.

That description and detail in the photo above describe the convertible notebook, aka Tablet PC, that has been around for a decade. The Tablet PC has served as a niche device for certain business segments but never caught on with the buying public.

While a thinner, lighter version of the convertible notebook would be better than the Tablet PC that has existed for so long, the form and function has never had mass appeal and likely won't in the future, either. It seems Intel is choosing to overlook the Tablet PC's history in the market and hopes this "brand new product" will grab the fancy of consumers. Sounds like a pipe dream to me. Perhaps Intel has been influenced by the bipolar nature that Windows 8 will have, supporting both notebooks and tablets?

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Intel, Mobility, Tablets

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  • I was and still am quite happy with the Intel Atom generation

    There's no reason to believe that Ultras won't do well.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
    • Bring Back The Atoms

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate

      I think with economic downturn looming on the horizon, we need to consider getting a second generation of netbooks going. While these attempts to clone the Macbook Air are all fine and dandy, when the market has no money to spend, Netbooks will be the next craze again.
      • RE: Intel promises Ultrabooks will become Tablet PCs

        @nucrash "on the horizon?" If anything, the economy will begin to recover over the next few years and manufacturing companies are positioning themselves to ride the up-side.

        Some people enjoy a device with limited data entry capability, but I've been waiting for the removable screen/tablet style of netbook for a long time. As long as they don't force-feed me from an app-store and try to stop me from manually loading my own software, I plan to pre-order.
      • RE: Intel promises Ultrabooks will become Tablet PCs

        @Bit-Smacker --- NO economic recovery with President Mau Mau in the White House.
    • RE: Intel promises Ultrabooks will become Tablet PCs

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate This article is ignorantly written. Sure, there were a couple of convertible notebooks YEARS ago but the typical "tablet PC" is just a tablet, it's not convertible. Besides, the ones that existed ten years ago won't compare to what they could do with them now. I think it's a great idea and would do very well for people who would like a tablet, but need a productivity computer, but can't afford a tablet AND a laptop. They should definitely reinvent the convertible tablet/notebook.
  • RE: Intel promises Ultrabooks will become Tablet PCs

    I don't think tablet PCs didn't work because of the form factor. It was the bloody software that MS tried to shove into the device. Now that they have Apollo that is built from the ground up for touch, we might see this form factor gain some real traction. Even Ubuntu with its Unity seems to be headed down the same path.
    I am more optimistic than cautious about Ultrabooks becoming Tablet PCs.
    They were kind of cool then and they could be cool tomorrow, now that they have the software
    • I agree


      Tablet PCs before were not even half-baked efforts - they were more like 1/10 th baked efforts. The OS was not built through and through for touch, and there was no app support. Finally these things are coming, with a slew of other support, and this should make all the difference.
      P. Douglas
      • RE: Intel promises Ultrabooks will become Tablet PCs

        @P. Douglas I am currently responding to you on an HP Touchpad. It works well, but I generally use it as a laptop. About the only time i use it otherwise is for reading ebooks and watching video. I do plan to upgrade to Window 8 as soon as it is available.
  • What does best-in-class mean?

    Low voltage processors are a non starter. I need the horsepower of an i7, but will settle for an i5. Anything less than that, and I will consider this a secondary tablet device only.
    Your Non Advocate
    • They are out there on the market already.

      My main laptop has an i7, and it's a 4 lb tablet pc with 5 hrs battery life (6 if on stretch).
      The next laptop for me, in the future, will again have a touch/pen input screen. Otherwise I'll have to settle for less functionality. Browsing is really convenient with touch scrolling, and note-taking and graphics programs are amazing with a pressure sensitive pen.
  • Regsrini is right...the answer was obvious to everyone

    but the author that the software was the one that pulled the previous efforts down. If the touch features for Windows 8 are not great, there is always the dual OS option of using Windows for full productivity and Android (or any other touch-based OS) for the tablet experience. But you get to carry around one device!
    • RE: Intel promises Ultrabooks will become Tablet PCs

      @ssubra2000 We actually used the WIndows convertible tablet PCs in a chain of photo studios I worked for. The software was no worse than other devices. What made us stop using them was that we couldn't find a model that could stand up to the day to day use/abuse involved in a photo studio. The price didn't help either as they were almost twice the price of a high end laptop without the tablet functions.

      While I agree that better hardware and and newer O/S will make for a better experience, IMHO, the convertibles were seen by many of us a a desirable device, they were just too expensive and too fraqile in the first generation to gain much acceptance.
      • RE: Intel promises Ultrabooks will become Tablet PCs


        Which ones did you get. Loathe as I am to say anything good about Dell, I used one of their convertibles for a while, and it withstood considerable rigor.
  • RE: Intel promises Ultrabooks will become Tablet PCs

    I disagree as well. I think the new gen processors and touch screens will make a big difference here. If they can match the new standards for screen resolution, input options and UI these "convertibles" can do well. I would consider a purchase.
    Techyard Dog
  • RE: Intel promises Ultrabooks will become Tablet PCs

    In my opinion an Ultrabook with a touch screen would be the ideal machine. I wouldn't carry a Tablet without screen protection (klutz, like rust, never sleeps), and an Ultrabook would give the advantage of a seperate keyboard, permitting serious work. Of course taking your fingers off the keys is still not a productive process, but until retinal tracking is perfected, it will have to do.
  • RE: Intel promises Ultrabooks will become Tablet PCs

    I've owned a Windows 7 convertible tablet PC for a couple of years now (HP TX2) and love it. I mainly use it for taking lecture notes (I'm a student, obviously) and it's brilliant for OneNote and web surfing, despite not running an OS purpose built for touch.

    Despite all the crap people sling at it, Windows 7 actually works quite well on a touch screen. It's not perfect, but it's not bad.

    The touch screen is particularly good for copying and pasting (i.e. from web pages or the Snipping Tool to OneNote), much nicer than using the trackpad. (A mouse is also good, of course, but unusable in my case because you can't use a mouse when your computer is perched on a little swing-up table on a chair!)

    The problem with a tablet PC is not the software, not the biggest problem anyway, it's that current tablet PCs are too heavy to comfortably hold in one hand while writing with the other, and their battery life isn't great. These are problems directly addressed by the Ultrabook specs, so I for one am very much looking forward to upgrading my TX2 to a touch and stylus enabled convertible tablet ultrabook, at which point I will stop carrying around my iPad as well for using as an eBook reader, convenient calendar and email checker etc.

    My iPad is ok, but mainly for its convenience, not its functionality. If my PC was as easy to pull out of my bag just to quickly check my timetable, I'd have no need for an iPad.
  • RE: Intel promises Ultrabooks will become Tablet PCs

    Ridiculous Prices and OS issues killed tablet PC. This is the way to compete with iPad - a touchpad with a stowable keyboard that runs Windows apps. Absurd amnesia to insiders, yes. But consumers never saw the tablet PC the first time around and will compare it to iPad, not previous failed attempts.
  • RE: Intel promises Ultrabooks will become Tablet PCs

    James I agree with you 100%. It's laughable to me when I read this story. Reinventing the wheel, except that wheel is something that nobody wanted. If anything, Asus will update their quasi netbook tablet hybrid non ultrabook slash tablet slate and with the price at around 50% cheaper than the ultrabook version. Good luck Intel, you really need it.
    • RE: Intel promises Ultrabooks will become Tablet PCs

      <--- Reinventing the wheel, except that wheel is something that nobody wanted. --->
      The world didn't want Apple's Newton, but they do want the iPad
  • RE: Intel promises Ultrabooks will become Tablet PCs

    Hmmm... neither fish nor fowl, eh? Much heavier and bulkier than a tablet, and at the same time, significantly more expensive than a standard notebook PC. Let me know how that works out for you, Intel...