Intel CEO Paul Otellini, speaking at the Intel Capital Global Summit, has said that touch-based ultrabooks running Windows 8 will be a major focus for the company in 2012. Windows 8, he said, was an optimized touch-based OS and that the ultrabook segment that it has spawned will need to capitalize on this. However, to make them appealing to mainstream buyers, Intel and its partners will have to span prices from $699 upwards.
"To hit the volume price points, we need to span $699 and up, and that's the goal for next year," Otellini said. "To do that, we have to get touch to a lower cost. This is particularly important, as we move to the launch of Windows 8. The iPad and the iPhone have made touch a paradigm.”
With Windows 8 tablets likely to be heavily promoted by Microsoft, Otellini argued that the ultrabook segment will also need to be able to offer touch capabilities.
"Starting with Windows 8, you have a mainstream operating system incorporating touch. Our view is that in the ultrabook lines, touch is a pretty critical enabler. When users see that new Windows interface, they're going to want to touch it. If the screen does nothing, you have disappointed [the] consumer," Otellini contended.
To do this, Intel will have to accelerate a reduction in the cost of touch-based interfaces. This is where Intel’s Ultrabook Fund will come into play. Intel will look to ulitize its $300 million fund to find ways of pushing the price of touch based ultrabooks to as low, or lower than the space where non-touch based Windows ultrabooks are currently occupying.