Surface Pro Signals Start of Intel Tablet Traction
With the introduction of the Surface Pro, Intel now marks entry into both the enterprise tablet market and the consumer tablet market although non-Microsoft offerings in the home market will probably be stronger.
With new iterations and improvements on Intel's roadmap as far as the eye can see, their competitiveness in the tablet arena appears ready to gain serious traction...
Thus far analysts have valued Intel as having zero participation in tablets or smartphones. With new products like Lenovo's K900, Surface Pro, Asus Fonepad and many other Intel-based convertibles, tablets and smartphones arriving in the market, one would expect a new perspective from analysts that recognizes the industry change.
Surface Pro may not be perfect, but there's no question it's at the top of the tablet food chain for performance and everything we know about Intel's roadmap suggests this device category can improve very quickly.
one would expect a new perspective from analysts that recognizes the industry change.
good luck with this one!
Mercedes Benz versus Yugo
The Benchmark Company‘s semiconductor analyst Gary Mobley, who covers ARM Holdings (ARMH), and rates its shares Hold, with a $44 price target, today writes that tablet computers based on the chips using ARM technology, such as parts from Nvidia (NVDA), are “far more power efficient” than Microsoft‘s (MSFT) “Surface Pro” tablet that runs Intel’s (INTC) microprocessors.
Surface Pro goes on sale February 9th, joining the Surface RT model based on Nvidia’s chip, which went on sale October 26th. You can check Microsoft’s site for buying information.
Despite the appeal of being able to run fully fledged Windows 8 applications on the Surface Pro, Mobley thinks the device has some notable drawbacks, citing both the review from Anandtech this week and one from The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg:
When the Intel processor is not in power savings mode, the clock speed of the Intel processor is better than an ARM-based processor. On the negative side, and these are big negatives, the Surface Pro costs about $200 more than ARM-based tablets (with equivalent flash storage capacity). The higher cost of the Surface Pro can be attributable to the fact that Intel processor costs approximately 10.0x as much as an ARM-based mobile application processor ($225 [according to Anandtech] vs. ~$20 of NVIDIA Tegra III). Additionally, unless you dim the screen and turn off all connectivity features, the Surface Pro may run out of batteries before you can finish watching Gone With the Wind (if that’s your thing). According to Walt Mossberg’s review of the Surface Pro, battery life is only four to five hours (click link for WSJ article). That’s about half the battery life for an ARM-based tablet (see recent Engadget article by clicking link). Last, the Surface Pro is considerably heavier and thicker than ARM-based tablets; however, this may have to do more with the screen technology used and available i/o features such as USB ports. Some supporters of Intel claim that a more power- sensitive processor is around the corner. Last month (January) Intel introduced its Ivy Bridge Y chips with a 13W TDP (7W SDP) power specification, saying it has over a dozen wins already for these chips, including Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga 11S Ultrabook and a future detachable Ultrabook from Acer. The thing to keep in mind, however, is that ARM licensees are continuously improving clock speed while minimizing power budgets. This tradeoff between power and performance should be further enhanced with use of ARM’s big.LITTLE technology. Samsung, for example, in two weeks will be showing off an 8-core mobile application processor utilizing big.LITTLE.