Intel's CEO claims that its latest processor technology will slash the price of Windows 8 touch interface devices to as little as $200.
Paul Otellini claims that his company's upcoming Bay Trail processor will be the key to this huge price drop. The latest iteration of the Intel Atom microarchitecture, designed for running smaller, portable devices such as tablets and, before them, netbooks, it is twice as powerful as its predecessors yet requires less energy.
The result is that devices will be thinner and lighter (less battery use means a smaller battery) while this exta processing ability will make it suitable for pro tablets and even potentially lower end notebooks.
"If you look at touch-enabled Intel-based notebooks that are ultrathin using [Bay Trail] processors. Those prices are going to be down to as low as $200," said Otellini during a quarterly results conference.
At $200, these devices will compete directly with cheaper Android tablets and could be key to Microsoft's latest operating system becoming mainstream. The latest figures from Gartner show that PC sales are in a slump and that confusion over the Windows 8 operating system could be partly to blame.
As well as the Bay Trail processor architecture, Intel is set to launch its Hawell chipset for the next generation of ultrabook mobile computers, which will support touch interface. Intel believes that this latest microarchitecture could result in ultrabooks with price tags as low as $500.
Be that as it may, according to Asian supply chain sources, demand for touch screens is currently outstripping available supply to such an extent that the displays are climbing in value, rather than falling in cost. So don't expect to see any low-cost computers on the open market until supply starts matching demand.