The tablet story so far has been largely about ARM: the Cambridge firm's chip technology powers most of the big-name tablets, including Apple's iPads. As you can imagine, Intel isn't too chuffed about that - not least because Windows 8 is going to work on ARM tablets too.
With ARM announcing that it wants half of the mobile computing market by 2015, Intel is fighting back. Its message: for the fastest, thinnest tablets, you need Intel inside. As Intel executive vice-president Sean Maloney told The Guardian, "ARM has almost 100% of the tablet market, but really that's one company: Apple. We're just moving into the tablet market."
ARM's technology is successful because while desktops and laptops need raw power, in tablets portability and energy efficiency matter more. It's a lesson that Intel has definitely learned. At last week's Computex show Intel showed off its design for an ultra-thin laptop just 0.8 inches thick, and promised that the necessary high performance, low power, ultra-thin chips would be everywhere by 2012.
2012 will bring Ivy Bridge processors to laptops and tablets, while at the same time processors currently dubbed "Medfield" will power tablets and smartphones, possibly including Windows 8 tablets. The goal is ever-thinner hardware with better battery life, graphics performance and processing power.
Intel reckons its processors will deliver super-thin, super-efficient portable devices such as "ultrabook" laptops (pictured) and truly desirable tablets.
Cheaper tablets are coming
The processing technology should bring tablet prices down too. Intel's next-generation processor architecture is based on a 22nm manufacturing process, which enables the firm to cram more processors into each silicon wafer. That enables Intel to bring the price per chip down considerably, which should have a knock-on effect on the price you pay for your next tablet.
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