Following Intel's quarterly results announcement yesterday, Intel CEO Paul Otellini got on a conference call to speak to journalists, analysts, and investors. The call centered on the chipmaker's financials, but Otellini briefly discussed upcoming ultrabooks and tablets, as well. The Intel CEO said we're going to see a fair number of touch-enabled ultrabooks and x86 tablets in the latter part of the year. He also promised that $699 ultrabooks will be available at retail this fall.
Here's the relevant snippet from Otellini's statement, as transcribed by SeekingAlpha:
Ultrabooks continued to build momentum, and achieved our volume goals for the first half. We are very pleased with the level of innovation and invention being brought into this category, and are now tracking over 140 Ivy Bridge base designed in the pipeline. Of those, more than 40 will be touch enabled and a dozen will be convertibles.
With visibility into this many designs, we are very confident that we’ll see $699 systems at retail this fall. We are also tracking more than 20 Windows 8 Tablet designs based on our low power and low cost Clover Trail Atom SoC in addition to a number of core based tablets.
Considering Windows 8's emphasis on touch, we shouldn't be too surprised about the number of touch-enabled ultrabooks in the pipeline. I couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at Otellini's statement, though. Using touch on a vertical screen has never been terribly convenient, and I'm not sure exactly how touch input will really improve full-featured notebooks—unless they all turn out to be convertible tablets, of course.
As for the Clover Trail tablets, I wonder how many of those will be consumer-centric designs with low price tags. We already know HP has a Windows 8 tablet with an x86 CPU in the works, but we also know that device seems to be aimed at business users. HP's existing, Atom-powered Slate 500 business tablet costs $799.