Windows 8 Tablets Overpriced Thanks To Intel? - InformationWeek
Government // Enterprise Architecture
10:59 AM

Windows 8 Tablets Overpriced Thanks To Intel?

Report suggests that Windows 8 tablets with Intel chips could cost significantly more than Android-based devices. This could push tablet makers to favor Intel rival ARM.

Windows 8 Upgrade Plans: Exclusive Research
Slideshow: Windows 8 Upgrade Plans: Exclusive Research
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Tablets powered by Microsoft's forthcoming Windows 8 operating system and Intel processors could start as high as $600, a price point that could make them uncompetitive with popular Android-based devices such as Amazon's hot-selling Kindle Fire.

That could drive OEMs to favor ARM-based chips over Intel in Windows 8 systems, even though Microsoft has imposed some strict limitations on ARM-based hardware.

Taiwan-based publication DigiTimes, which closely tracks manufacturers of PC and mobile components, cited unidentified sources in reporting that prices for Wintel-based Windows 8 tablets could run from $600 to $900 as a result of Microsoft and Intel's unwillingness to budge on prices for the Windows 8 OS and Clover Trail-W chips.

Such pricing would make Intel-based Windows 8 tablets considerably more expensive than the $199 Kindle Fire. Even a brand new iPad 2, with 16 GB of storage, can be had for $499.

[ Contemplating a switch to Microsoft's upcoming operating system? Don't miss Windows 8: What IT Needs To Consider. ]

The report suggested that unless Intel cuts its chip prices, even notebook vendors might opt for ARM-based chips from vendors like Qualcomm, Nvidia, and Texas Instruments. Microsoft has said it plans to offer a version of Windows 8 designed to run on the ARM architecture, but that was with an eye to the tablet market.

Microsoft has not officially released any pricing information on Windows 8 tablets or PCs. The company, however, this week revealed more details about Windows 8, including additional information about a security feature called Secure Boot, which is designed to block the installation of malware.

Secure Boot works by confirming that all programs contain the appropriate security certificates before they are allowed to launch. To meet Microsoft's Windows 8 certification requirements, PCs must ship with Secure Boot enabled. Critics have said Secure Boot would allow Microsoft to block the installation of software it views as a threat, such as Linux, on Windows 8 systems.

New information Microsoft released would appear indicate that that's true, but only in part. The certification requirements show that on Intel-based Windows 8 PCs and notebooks, users will have the ability to effectively switch off Secure Boot. Also, software vendors will be allowed to include their own certificates with their products that can get the green light from Secure Boot.

On ARM-based Windows 8 tablets, however, there is no option to bypass Secure Boot, and only Microsoft can issue certificates, even for third-party software. That's consistent with other moves that Microsoft is planning to create a tightly controlled ecosystem around Windows 8 tablets. Applications for such devices, for instance, will need to be approved by Microsoft for inclusion on its applications store.

Such policies may rile Linux advocates, but aren't that much different from what Apple enforces when it comes to the iPhone and iPad ecosystems.

Ready to catch the Metro? Windows 8 is a major shift, with features borrowed from desktop gadgets and mobile devices, and it brings a slew of new paradigms for developers. Our report, IT Pro Impact: Windows Developer Road Map, shows you what you need to know. (Free registration required.)

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Ninja
1/19/2012 | 2:06:01 AM
re: Windows 8 Tablets Overpriced Thanks To Intel?
I've read a number of articles about how Ultrabook manufacturers are trying to get Intel to cut $100 off the chips they need to use. They also want R&D money from them. Now, Intel is being blamed again. Cut your prices? Why? Is it proper that Intel should cut their profit so that others can raise theirs? I don't see that.

This is an MS project. Let them give the OS away for free as Google does. Or charge a nominal sum. Maybe they can make it back on Ads. Oh wait! MS makes its money on charging heavily for its OS. Well, tough! I don't see why third parties have to cut.

We all knew that Win8 tablets would cost more. That's just too bad. If they don't sell, that's too bad too.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends for 2018
As we enter a new year of technology planning, find out about the hot technologies organizations are using to advance their businesses and where the experts say IT is heading.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll