Could Intel be dealt out of the Windows 8 tablet fun?

While you can't have a Windows 8 tablet without Microsoft, you don't necessarily need to invite Intel to the party
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer

Just how much will consumers pay for a for a Windows 8 tablet? Well, the current rumor doing the rounds is that you'll be looking at paying a minimum of a $100 premium for such a device over the price of an iPad 3.

The problem, according to both DigiTimes and my sources within the industry is that both Microsoft and Intel are not willing to drop their asking price for software and hardware and that this could push consumers aware from Windows 8 tablets and into the arms of the iPad.

This from DigiTimes:

As for Intel and Microsoft, the sources pointed out that Intel and Microsoft are also struggling since if Microsoft drops its Windows 8 and Intel drops its Clover Trail-W prices, although the strategy could help raise Wintel-based tablet PC's market share, it could also seriously damage pricing in the PC market and bring down their gross margin performance.

Now, this could get interesting. Why? Because while you can't have a Windows 8 tablet without Microsoft, you don't necessarily need to invite Intel to the party. Hardware OEMs could dump Intel and instead choose an ARM solution from the likes of NVIDIA, Qualcomm or Texas Instruments.

Good for Microsoft, because Microsoft sells a Windows 8 license.

Good for consumers, because ARM hardware would be cheaper than Intel hardware.

Bad for Intel, because the company would see itself being dealt out of a new and exciting game.

Here's how I see things playing out:

  • Cheap Windows 8 tablets will be ARM powered. No doubt. I see them priced somewhere around the iPad mark, not likely any cheaper.
  • Intel-powered Windows 8 tablets will command a premium price. I'm not expecting these to be any cheaper than around $750.
  • A fly in the ointment would be if Apple cut the price of the iPad or continued to offer the iPad 2 for an extended duration at a lower price. This sort of move could kill Windows 8 tablets before they're even out of the door.

So, what do you think? How much would you pay for a Windows 8 tablet, and would you be happy going choosing an ARM system over Intel?

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