Major mobile players getting desperate thanks to Apple

Major mobile players getting desperate thanks to Apple

Summary: The impact on mobile that Apple has achieved is massive, and one only has to watch the major players to realize how desperate they are scrambling.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Apple
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The mobile space has always been interesting to watch, and getting more so as time goes on. The impact on mobile that Apple has achieved is massive, and one only has to watch the major players to realize how desperate they are scrambling to compete. Intel and Microsoft have long ridden the success of Wintel, but the mobile segment has them both twisting in the wind to find a toehold of relevance for the future.

Intel's unveiling of a new mobile product category at Computex today smacks of desperation. The Ultrabook™ as the chipmaker describes it is a firm attempt to chase two of Apple's successful products: the iPad and the MacBook Air.

These computers will marry the performance and capabilities of today’s laptops with tablet-like features and deliver a highly responsive and secure experience, in a thin, light and elegant design.

It's clear that Intel is chasing both the iPad in the tablet space and the MacBook Air in the laptop segment with the new Ultrabook™. This has desperation written all over it, and the problem Intel has is they don't make actual products. They can produce all the reference designs they want but they have to get a significant number of hardware partners to actually build the things. This won't be easy given Intel's own declaration that the Ultrabook™ must be "sub-$1,000" devices. The last time I looked at the mobile space $1,000 wasn't a good target for any product or company.

Microsoft invented the Tablet PC but could never get past the bulky, heavy and expensive nature of the beast. Apple set the bar for tablets with the iPad, and Microsoft is scrambling to get an ARM-based Windows 8 tablet to market faster than the company in Redmond has ever moved before. While Microsoft missed the big tablet market entirely, the desperation to keep relevant in this mobile segment may be a good thing.

Larry Dignan has a great point that a Microsoft offering of an Office-optimized tablet could be a good move for relevance in the increasingly crowded tablet field. Such a device running a version of Windows for the ARM platform, totally written for the tablet form, could be competitive in the enterprise market if it packed a good version of the Office suite.

I would add that such a tablet could also hit the consumer space if the same team at Microsoft that has integrated Xbox Live features in Windows Phone would do the same for the Microsoft tablet platform. The tiny smartphone screen can only take Xbox integration so far, and bringing it to a bigger tablet screen could be awesome. With one platform designed to integrate Office and Xbox, Microsoft could actually make a run for the tablet buyer's money.

Qualcomm with its chip technology based on the ARM architecture, has been able to capitalize on this boom in the mobile space. The company is now looking to go beyond the smartphone and tablet worlds and make a run into the laptop area, and thanks to the Microsoft efforts in this area have a good shot at doing so. It is a distinct sign of the times when Intel is desperately trying to break into mobile, and Qualcomm is getting ready to make a run at the laptop space.

No matter what you think of Apple the company and its business practices, it has totally redefined the mobile space with its products. The major players in mobile are desperate to remain relevant in this space, and what they do in the next two years will be significant to determine their ongoing significance in mobile.

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Topics: Mobility, Apple

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29 comments
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  • RE: Major mobile players getting desperate thanks to Apple

    Wait a second, the Air is a big net book with an under clocked Core 2 Duo... Last I checked that wasn't and Apple innovation and Intel powers both the Air and the typical Net book...

    Another thing, AMD has a better solution to the mobile space and likely would be able to dominate Intel in this area.
    slickjim
    • It is not just underclocked Core2Due, the chip itself only appeared by ...

      @Peter Perry: ... Apple's whim when Steven Jobs called Intel's Otellini back in 2007 and said he needs chip without box that could fit in crazy-thin note book.<br><br>So yes, the concept was invented by Apple. Though Intel did help implement it. It is not clear, though, why Intel now claims it presents new concept of PC while it was already presented by Apple three years ago.<br><br>Also, TabletPC -- with GUI, icons, stylus -- was not invented by Microsoft; it was invented by Apple, which presented 800g Newton MessagePad 100 back in 1993 (earlier existing in tiny quantities screen-PCs that weighted 5 kg are not tablet computers; these are movable screen-PCs and that is it).
      DDERSSS
      • RE: Major mobile players getting desperate thanks to Apple

        @denisrs both of those statements are wrong...

        There were several concept devices prior to the Lisa and the ultra thin / portable notebook was out about 10 years before Apple had the idea. Hell, Toshiba had a really tiny laptop running Windows and something like a Pentium 200 in either 96 or 97.
        slickjim
      • Which concept devices?

        @Peter Perry: and, anyway, none of notebooks from the past could compete with MBA -- it is quite fast, full-size keyboard, thin device.<br><br>All prior devices in production were not at least one of these characteristics.

        Mainly, these which were thin used "Pentium Mobile" and such super slow chips, and Apple's idea was to bring actual CPU to super thin device with full sized keyboard.
        DDERSSS
      • RE: Major mobile players getting desperate thanks to Apple

        @denisrs Bullshit, the Toshiba Libretto was for that time and much smaller than the MBA could dream of being...

        As for the concept PDA devices, look them up they have been discussed many times previously.
        slickjim
      • Libretto is nothing like MBA class of devices: these were little crampy ...

        @Peter Perry: ... crappy things with unusable keyboards and yet very thick (3.5 cm).

        By the way:
        http://www.zdnet.com/tb/1-97892-1891822
        DDERSSS
    • RE: Major mobile players getting desperate thanks to Apple

      @Peter Perry IIRC the chip in the Mac Air was either designed by Apple or by a collaboration between Apple and Intel... and it's more than a big netbook - it blows netbooks away pretty handily from my own experience using my cousin's Mac Air...
      athynz
      • RE: Major mobile players getting desperate thanks to Apple

        @athynz Depends on the net book, there were some very fast AMD based net books... also, the latest net books are what I am talking about the older generation had real core 2 duos at normal speeds.
        slickjim
      • RE: Major mobile players getting desperate thanks to Apple

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    • RE: Major mobile players getting desperate thanks to Apple

      @Peter Perry

      Have you nothing better to do than waste our time with your anti-Apple stupidity? Given the level of your comments, probably not. Go find a hole to crawl into, and stop cluttering up the blog comments.
      jorjitop
    • RE: Major mobile players getting desperate thanks to Apple

      @Peter Perry

      Under clock Core 2 duo? try the air and then come back and comment.
      AdanC
      • RE: Major mobile players getting desperate thanks to Apple

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  • RE: Major mobile players getting desperate thanks to Apple

    So many things wrong with this article.

    [i]Intel and Microsoft have long ridden the success of Wintel, but the mobile segment has them both twisting in the wind to find a toehold of relevance for the future.[/i]
    Says you! The rest of the world is perfectly happy with Wintel, and Microsoft will always remain the dominant player in notebooks and laptops. Thick or thin, the people want Microsoft Windows on them.

    [i]Microsoft invented the Tablet PC but could never get past the bulky, heavy and expensive nature of the beast.[/i]
    You fail to mention that was invented over 10 years ago when the materials of today were not available. Also the tablet PC was targeted to a specific audience. Where was Apple's tablet 10 years ago? That's right, they didn't have one.

    [i]Apple set the bar for tablets with the iPad, and Microsoft is scrambling to get an ARM-based Windows 8 tablet to market faster than the company in Redmond has ever moved before. While Microsoft missed the big tablet market entirely, the desperation to keep relevant in this mobile segment may be a good thing.[/i]
    This whole paragraph is false and you darn well know it is. Microsoft and ARM didn't scramble, they made a business pact in which both companies will benefit. You see, that is how business works, through partnerships. Again, Microsoft didn't miss a tablet market, they were targeting a specific group of people. I didn't see Apple offering a tablet 10 years ago, maybe you should get on their case about that.
    LoverockDavidson
    • RE: Major mobile players getting desperate thanks to Apple

      @LoverockDavidson Microsoft is indeed scrambling to get an ARM version of Windows out for the tablet market. Microsoft did indeed miss the mass consumer market for tablets, you cannot rewrite history no matter how much you don't like it.

      The first tablet to make a success in the consumer space is the iPad, again no matter how much you don't like it. I stand by everything I've written in this article.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: Major mobile players getting desperate thanks to Apple

        @JamesKendrick
        The ARM deal is just to get Microsoft Windows on more platforms. If you go back to history and read Bill Gates vision of getting Windows on every device, then you will see this fits in with what he was saying.

        I'm not trying to rewrite history but it sure sounds like you are. Microsoft had the tablet 10 years ago when no others did. They targeted a specific group. That' IS history.

        As I said many a times, the tablet is a fad that needs to pass. They aren't selling nearly as well as people want us to believe. Just because its labeled with Apple doesn't mean its an automatic success.
        LoverockDavidson
      • Loverock, why don't you actually try reading what he's posted...

        [i]"The ARM deal is just to get Microsoft Windows on more platforms. If you go back to history and read Bill Gates vision of getting Windows on every device, then you will see this fits in with what he was saying."[/i]

        Bill Gates isn't running the company anymore, Steve Ballmer is. Microsoft's vision and direction appears to be having its head in the sand.

        [i]"I'm not trying to rewrite history but it sure sounds like you are. Microsoft had the tablet 10 years ago when no others did. They targeted a specific group. That' IS history."[/i]

        Loverock, why don't you actually try reading what he's posted first. It helps to understand what the argument is before forming a rebuttal.

        Mr. Kendrick said that, while Microsoft invented the Tablet PC, the iPad is the first successful [i]mass-market[/i] tablet device.

        You're whining and complaining that Microsoft invented the tablet PC and that it was only targeted to a niche group... which is [i]exactly what Kendrick just stated.[/i]

        [i]"As I said many a times, the tablet is a fad that needs to pass."[/i]

        Yeah, we know. Just like the iPod was a fad, and how the Zune is going to take over the market. Your predictions are spot on.

        [i]"They aren't selling nearly as well as people want us to believe."[/i]

        I think you're on to something. Not only does the Federal Trade Commission working for Apple, but the moon landing was fake, too!
        olePigeon
      • RE: Major mobile players getting desperate thanks to Apple

        @JamesKendrick Maybe it's not your facts but the subjective prose you utilize "It is a distinct sign of the times when Intel is desperately trying to break into mobile, and Qualcomm is getting ready to make a run at the laptop space" Why is Intel 'desperate' and Qualcomm is 'getting ready' ? All these mobile devices use cloud apps that are mostly (~80%) run on Intel architecture that have significantly higher margins. Why is not Qualcomm 'desperately' trying to break into this market. ( a question I would ask as a shareholder)
        it_future
    • Utter rubbish

      @LoverockDavidson

      If you wish to rebut this blog, you need to do a LOT better. You feelings and fan boy ego being hurt just isn't enough.
      Economister
      • RE: Major mobile players getting desperate thanks to Apple

        @Economister
        Awww you are upset because I'm right.
        LoverockDavidson
      • Don't flatter yourself

        @Economister

        I am disgusted by your pathetic fan boy posts.
        Economister