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Windows 8 tablet prices to plummet, Intel promises

Windows 8 tablets and touchscreen laptops are set to plummet in price, Intel promises, as it gears up its new quad-core Bay Trail chip.

Windows 8 tablets and touchscreen laptops -- until now significantly more expensive than their Android-based brethren -- are set to plummet in price, Intel promises.

"If you look at touch-enabled Intel-based notebooks that are ultrathin... Those prices are going to be down to as low as $200," teased the chipmaker's CEO Paul Otellini, our sister site CNET News reports. That puts them in range of super-cheap slates like the £159 Nexus 7, which is powered by Nvidia's Tegra chip.

Otellini was speaking on a conference call to discuss his company's earnings in the first quarter of 2013, during which its profits slumped by 25 per cent. Intel is feeling the pinch of the shrinking PC market as much as anyone -- except perhaps Microsoft.

Intel's price promise is based on a new kind of chip, codenamed 'Bay Trail', which is a total redesign of the Atom chip, Intel's current low-power processor. Bay Trail will be quad-core and let tablet makers get their chassis as thin as 8mm, while keeping the all-day battery life tablet users expect, Intel has promised.

"Bay Trail is going to be a great product in that segment of the market," said Stacy Smith, Intel's chief financial officer, "and enable stunning performance relative to what the competition can bring."

Intel also promised traditional laptops would be cheaper -- around the £350 mark for an ultrabook -- but it's tablets it desperately needs to make a splash in as the PC market collapses.

Is price the main problem with Windows 8 touchscreen PCs? Or are there better reasons to defect to Android or iPad? Chip in in the comments below, or over on our chippy Facebook page.