As Windows 8 struggles to gain traction, Intel certainly isn’t tying its fortunes to Microsoft’s OS. During a recent interview, an Intel executive told CNET that the company will soon begin selling its own line of Intel Atom-powered Android notebooks for around $200. That’s the same price of the cheapest Android tablets, such as the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7.
According to Intel’s chief product officer, Dadi Perlmutter, these cheap notebooks will offer touch screens and have Atom processors under the hood. The next chip in Intel’s lineup is codenamed Bay Trail, which promises twice the performance of yesteryear’s netbooks along with much longer battery life.
Analyst firm IDC recently reported that the PC industry suffered the steepest decline ever in the first quarter. The firm attributed part of this decline to Windows 8’s learning curve but also blamed the demise of low-cost netbooks. Android-powered laptops could help fill that void.
What makes the advent of Android-powered notebooks particularly intriguing is that they would compete head-to-head with Chromebooks. Devices like the $249 Samsung Series 3 Chromebook and $199 Acer C710 run Google’s Chrome OS, which is mostly a browser-based experience. However, these clamshells lack touch capability and offer a lot less apps than Android.
Could Windows 8 machines ever get this affordable? Intel’s Perlmutter says it “largely depends on Microsoft.” Tablets based on Microsoft’s OS could sink to $200 by the end of the year, but there’s no word on how low Atom-powered Windows notebooks could go. In the meantime, Windows devices running Intel’s more mainstream Core CPU will sell in the $399 to $499 range.