updated 04:25 pm EDT, Wed May 26, 2010
Tablet makers 'persuaded' to downplay ARM
Taiwan companies making tablets are being "persuaded" by Intel and Microsoft to promote x86-based tablets over ARM models, according to a controversial claim today. Both ASUS and MSI had made it clear they were producing Tegra-based ARM tablets with Android at the start of the year but have suddenly shifted much of their attention for the Computex show in early June to systems using Intel's chips, usually Atom processors, with Windows 7 as the OS. ARM-based tablets would still be at the expo and ship in the summer but would be secondary focuses at most.
The insiders making the allegations didn't tell DigiTimes what Intel and Microsoft had suggested might happen if ARM-based tablets were the focus, but Intel has repeatedly been accused of discouraging the use of non-Intel hardware through pricing and supply practices. Microsoft has less of a bargaining position, but as the key OS supplier for virtually all Taiwanese computer builders has some sway over the terms of how its software reaches the systems.
Neither Intel nor Microsoft has commented on the claims, but either has denied this sort of influence in the past.
Intel is facing one of its largest-ever threats this year as many companies have chosen ARM over x86 for many of their tablets. HP drops its Windows slate in favor of an ARM-running webOS device. The reasons for choosing ARM have been many but have largely centered on significantly longer battery life, better performance with video and 3D graphics, and the option of touch-friendly mobile platforms like Android and iPhone OS.