On Android tablets, Intel wrestles its prices in line with ARM's -- report

The storied maker of PC chips may not hit its 40 million tablet goal this year, says a report. But it's certainly trying.

Intel powers the Android-based Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. Samsung

Intel has managed to get the cost of Android tablets that run its chips competitive with the price of ARM-based systems, as it continues to pour money and resources into spurring growth, according to Digitimes Research.

"Android-on-Intel tablets' costs are already lower than those of the same level Android-on-ARM models," Digitimes Research said in a report published Friday, referring to the Android operating system that runs on both Intel processors and ARM chips and on devices from companies like Qualcomm and Samsung.

The report also said Intel will lean more on Android than Windows 8.1 in 2014 "since the Android tablet market's scale is far larger than that of Windows tablets."

Digitimes Research predicts that 60 percent of Intel's tablet processor shipments will be adopted in Android-based gadgets and 40 percent in Windows machines, with a lot of those Android tablets coming from Asus.

But don't necessarily expect Intel to hit its oft-stated mark of shipping 40 million tablet processors. Rather, it should be around 32 million, according to the report.

Intel doesn't agree with that, of course. The company's CEO, Brian Krzanich, is "laser focused" on reaching 40 million tablets this year, Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith said during the company's most recent earnings conference call.

Subsidies and support for device makers will continue -- in order to reach that goal.

"Intel started offering technology support, marketing subsidies, and CPU price cuts for Android-on-Intel tablets in the second half of 2013 and has been nurturing China's supply chain to provide low-price components," Digitimes Research said.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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