updated 11:10 pm EDT, Wed April 13, 2011
Intel has Android 3 strategy, paying chip subsidy
Intel's plans to support Android 3.0 on x86 may include paying incentives to get developers onboard. The chip designer was said on Wednesday to be paying a $10 chip subsidy to "first-tier notebook vendors" if they make a tablet using an Intel processor. One of those spotted by Digitimes would include an unannounced Cisco tablet using the Atom Z670 (Oak Trail) that would bring Android 3.0 to enterprise users.
The payoffs would likely be to discourage using not just ARM chips but rivals from AMD by eroding some of the cost advantage.
The strategy itself would be formally known as PRC Plus and was supposedly the result of six months of negotiation with Google. It would lean mostly on the theoretically stronger performance of Intel hardware while customizing the interface and experience. It would partly be to entice hardware developers that might be put off by the high licensing costs of Windows.
Intel has usually been shut out of the tablet market through the poorer battery life and high prices of Atom chips. It has been taking steps to upgrade its tablets and will have the Cloverview design later this year. Without a near-term hardware option, however, it may be looking to use an economic advantage to muscle into the category early.
In the meantime, additional reports had Intel cooperating with netbook designers to get their pricing to more appealing levels. Acer and ASUS netbooks in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East would start to go below $199 by using Intel's own MeeGo OS. These would ship in the second half of 2011, the sources said.
Richer countries would skew in the opposite direction and would focus on extras coming in Cedar Trail, including WiDi and Wireless Music. Designs could cost the usual $299 but could scale as high as $599 for high-end models.