2010 may forever be remembered as the Year of the Tablet as the Apple iPad stamped its authority worldwide. By mid-2011, it became evident that the so-called ‘iPad Killer’ would never arrive and yours truly questioned the meaning of the term ‘tablet war‘.
While Apple and Google had been at loggerheads, questions continued to be asked over Microsoft’s noticeable absence from the tablet fight. In the last few months, several high profile OEMs have boarded the ship of budding Windows 8 tablet makers. HP shelved webOS and announced plans to build a Windows 8 tablet. Motorola said it loves Android but it’s open to Windows 8, until Google snapped it up to settle the debate for good.
Digitimes reports that Acer and Lenovo have announced they’re joining the Windows 8 tablet maker gang. These tablets are rumored to run on Intel’s new Clover Trail platform, a successor to Medfield. Intel is expected to showcase Clover Trail-based prototype Windows 8 tablets at CES later this month.
A new powerful processor, a new platform optimized for tablets and several OEMs rooting for its cause – Will Windows 8 be a game changer in the tablet segment in 2012?
It’s believed that Intel’s next-gen architecture Medfield was “eclipsed by ARM-based processors in terms of performance and power”, therefore most OEMs are now for the Clover Trail chips. Intel now plans to position Medfield as the next gen chipset for smartphones which Clover Trail is being projected as the future tablet processor. Both Medfield and Clover Trail processors use the Cedar Trail architecture based on Intel’s Sandy Bridge technology.
Though Intel has closely guarded all secrets related to Clover Trail, it’s believed that the new tablet process will offer significant improvements in graphics capabilities including Blu-ray 2.0 support, a dedicated media engine for full 1080p playback and additional digital display options including HDMI output and DisplayPort.
Both Acer and Lenovo are expected to launch Windows 8 tablets based on Intel’s Clover Trail platform in the third quarter of 2012. Digitimes quotes sources who believe that Windows 8 – Intel Clover Trail (aka Wintel) tablets “will have strong potential in the enterprise market where users still have demand for Microsoft-developed applications that they are familiar with.”
Microsoft and Intel shared a love-hate relationship last year. First, Microsoft announced that it would use ARM processors in a new, low-powered version of the Windows operating system. Then, it eloped with Nokia leaving MeeGo’s future in jeopardy. Both these moves took the world’s largest chip giant by surprise and it was left licking its wounds. Intel then threatened to hit back with an army of Android tablets but the plan didn’t work.
So, Microsoft and Intel are back with the Windows 8 – Clover Trail grand plan. Whether it will work, time will tell.