How Intel could give Windows 8 the break it has been waiting for

How Intel could give Windows 8 the break it has been waiting for

Summary: What will it take to help give stagnating PC sales a bit of a boost? Intel hopes that Windows 8-powered notebooks with a $200 to $300 price tag might do the trick.

TOPICS: Intel, Windows 8
(Image: Intel)

I think that it's fair to say that Windows 8 hasn't been the rip-roaring success that Microsoft had hoped it would be. All data seems to suggest that it hasn't jump-started the stalling PC industry. But that could all change, thanks to Intel.

The chip giant is planning to work with hardware makers and Microsoft to bring to market cheap, touch-enabled Windows 8 notebooks powered by the company's upcoming Bay Trail Atom silicon.

CEO Paul Otellini hopes that "touch-enabled, Intel-based notebooks that are ultrathin and light using non-core processors" could come to market "as low as $200, probably".

And it's not just the cheap end of the market that Intel is interested in. Otellini also sees devices that offer "really good performance" that are going to be "hitting, kind of, $300 price points".

One of the biggest hurdles facing Windows 8 is price. The economy is tight, people are taking a closer look at price tags and coming to the conclusion that Windows hardware is not cheap. This is especially so when they are compared to Android powered tablets.

Part of this is the cost of the hardware — PC-based hardware is not cheap — and then on top of that is the cost of a Windows 8 license — which is also not cheap.

While it seems that Microsoft is reluctant to start cutting the price of Windows licenses, this means that it is down to the hardware makers to find ways to slash prices. And given the dire predictions being made in relation to the industry, they have no choice but to try something.

While hardware makers are not going to be thrilled about having to cut prices again — a big part of the problem with the PC industry is that the big name OEMs, such as Dell and HP, devalued PCs to the point where it became hard for companies to turn a profit from selling them — consumers will be thrilled.

In my experience, consumers care very little about MHz, GHz, and so on when it comes to PCs, and instead focus on price. New Windows-powered devices, such as tablets, ultrabooks, and convertibles, don't seem to have done much to reinvigorate sales, but cheaper hardware may be the secret sauce that Windows 8 has been waiting for.

However, in the long run, this isn't going to have a huge, long-term effect on PCs. The era of the PC is over; we are moving into an era dominated by post-PC devices such as smartphones and tablets. The best we can hope from this is a short-term blip in a chart that is otherwise heading south.

Topics: Intel, Windows 8

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  • It doesn't need

    a break, it needs a reason to exist. It's an OS nobody wants. A bad idea that just needs to go away. My Vista install is MUCH more desirable.
    • Vista!!!?

      You must be living in a past time zone. Windows 8 a zillion time better than Vista. If you would have mention Windows 7, at least, I could understand but Vista... No way.
      • dead on

        I upgraded from Vista and it's a huge upgrade. And Vista doesn't work right with SSDs. Just ignore Metro and Windows 8 is ok.
      • Zillion?

        I'll grant you that zillion is a REALLY big number. I think.
        Asok Smith
    • Apparently...

      ...many fewer people want it than MS would like, but it's not true that nobody wants it.

      But I think you actually knew this.
      John L. Ries
  • How Intel could give Windows 8 the break it has been waiting for

    Not that Microsoft Windows 8 needs a break since it has been doing well but this has the opportunity to increase sales. The one thing I'd ask Intel is not to put their HD GMA graphics card in it.
    • Intel HD GMA

      Is perfectly functional for what the vast majority use their PC's for. Sure, you can't run most modern games with it, but email, web browsing, or watching videos works just fine. You just aren't going to get a high end performance machine running ANY OS for $200-$300, but most people don't have any need for extreme performance.
      Just saw an article on here the other day talking about the era of "good enough" computing and these machines would certainly fit that bill.
      • Intel HD GMA

        A modular architecture that could allow for user-level GPU upgrades would be most desirable. Sadly, the current trend is to make everything non-user upgradeable/replaceable, even the battery! Demand for high-end laptops is erratic and products are over priced as a result -- high end buyers are paying extra for development and slow-moving stock.
        • A modular architecture on a 7" tablet?

          What good would that do the user other than drive the price up threefold?

          We're in the disposable computing age. If something breaks or has obsolete parts it's cheaper to replace the whole thing than to fix or upgrade it. And yes, that does mean high end users will pay even more as a result, but as far as supply and demand economics goes that's exactly how it should be.
          Michael Kelly
    • Doing well?

      Let's see now. Windows 8 doing well. Uptake for Windows 8 has been 1/3 the uptake of Vista and Windows 7 during the same initial months. PC sales were down more than DOUBLE the predicted drop, while Mac sales were down only 1/2 of the PC sales drop. Dell being forced to put Windows 7 back on their consumer models because Windows 8 PCs weren't selling. Is that what you mean by doing well?
      Asok Smith
    • I was waiting for your post

      It is very refreshing to read your denials and delusions in each of your posts, concerning the Windows 8 success.

      Now let’s move to the next step of the process, I think it is time to accept there is a tiny problem with Windows 8 sells numbers that may need some different direction…just maybe…
      • Thanks for being a fan!

        You were waiting for me, how sweet :)
    • Re: How Intel could give Windows 8 the break it has been waiting for

      Ah, now it is Intel.

      After declaring OEMs the sole reason for Windows's fault, it is now Intel.

      Why won't Microsoft strike a deal with IBM and move to PowerPC? Sure, IBM will love them better. :)
  • .

    If Microsoft dropped the cost of a Windows 8 license for OEM's a bit, the prices would drop on their own. Introducing more netbooks won't help.
    Something with an Atom processor will run 8, sure, but it'll be slow and laggy. You simply cannot get a "full" desktop Windows experience on a weak processor.
    • why not

      if OEMs, micorosft and intels works togethr it could be possible
    • Microsoft just recently dropped the price of Windows8 for certain devices

      I don't remember the exact system specs were that would trigger the discount, but it was basically any tablet/notebook that was 11 inches or smaller.

      That is why so many of the current Windows8 tablets/hybrids all dropped in price at the same time.

      It is a good move by microsoft and hopefully Intel will follow suit with their next generation of chips.
    • Oh So you've use one?

      NOT! I use a 2 year old Slate with Windows 8 and an outdated Atom CPU and it runs Win 8 Pro (Windows 7 before it) with Office and no lag.
      If you don't know the facts don't speak on the subject!
  • well . . .

    "In my experience consumers care very little about MHz, GHz, and so on when it comes to PCs, and instead focus on price."

    Well, many consumers, that is. There's still a few of us that do care about that stuff, though. I find that it's not really accurate to shoehorn everything into broad, sweeping claims.

    You're mostly right, although I think it's time to be a bit more fair to people who aren't in the majority. I'm a bit tired of this mentality at ZDNet that if you're not the majority, you're nothing.

    "The era of the PC is over,"

    Evidence is to the contrary:

    PCs aren't going away; they're being supplemented by other devices. Linking to your own story tells me that you're stuck in a loop that self-reinforces your own beliefs.
  • Era dominated by post-PC devices - Ha ha ha

    "However, in the long run this isn't going to change have a huge, long-term effect on PCs. The era of the PC is over, and we are moving into an era dominated by post-PC devices such as smartphones and tablets"

    - Some 'pundits' said in 1999 that Mainframes will be dead after 2000. Its 2013 and mainframe sales are increasing...

    - Era dominated by post-PC devices. There won't such an era. Tablets and phones are not good enough for business or personal computing.

      must be a new term that means "composes the lesser amount of internet traffic" in some circles.
      Michael Alan Goff