Intel to kick off mobile push with Windows 8 event in SF

We dig into some of the questions surrounding Intel's new Clover Trail processor, now called the Atom Z2760.

By Ian Paul, PC World |  Mobile & Wireless, Intel, windows 8

For the new Windows 8 ecosystem, there will actually be two flavors of the OS to choose from: Windows 8 and Windows RT. Windows 8 will appear in any device running an x86-based processor. Windows RT, meanwhile, is the OS version for ARM-based tablets that rely on the new touch-friendly Windows 8 UI (formerly known as Metro). Windows RT will still include a traditional desktop interface option, but it will be buried in the OS, and it won't be able to run legacy third-party apps such as Photoshop or browsers like Mozilla Firefox. To alleviate this pain point, Microsoft says Windows RT will offer a free version of Office as well as Internet Explorer for accessing the Web.

As for Windows 8 tablets running on Intel silicon, they'll theoretically offer full compatibility with Windows legacy technology, including current desktop applications, and peripherals such as printers and cameras. These could be handy advantages if you want them, but it's not clear if people are clamoring to use Quicken on a tiny touchscreen, or print directly from their tablets.

Clover Trail Hardware Options

Intel's event will include presentations from major PC manufacturers so we should get more details later. But the company in June said 20 Windows 8 tablets with Clover Trail chips were already in the works. Some tablets and laptop convertibles set to run Clover Trail chips have already been announced including the Hewlett-Packard Envy X2, Samsung Ativ Smart PC, and Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2.

Clover Trail Device Pricing

The key to a successful push into mobile devices will be the cost of Clover Trail-powered Windows 8 laptops and hybrids. Few prices have been announced for upcoming Clover Trail devices, but costs are expected to range anywhere from $700 to $1000 and up. That's definitely more expensive than the $500 price tag of a base model iPad. But Intel-powered tablets should offer more PC-like capabilities than Apple's tablet, and this should appeal to anyone looking to get real work done on a touchscreen device.

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