Ultrabooks and convertible tablets are the way to go
has been spreading the Tegra gospel for three years now and by the looks of it, the emphasis on ARM-based chips is set to grow.
Talking to CNET, Nvidia mobile chief Rene Haas outlined the company’s plans and expectation from the future, ranging from Windows 8 ultrabooks to convertible tablets. Nvidia is confident that it will seize a sizable chunk of the Ivy Bridge discrete market and we should see an increasing number of Kepler GPUs in ultrabooks. Haas stressed that the first ultrabooks with Kepler GPUs are already starting to roll out, and Acer is leading the way with the Timeline M3. However, in addition to big 15-inch designs, Nvidia also hopes to end up in smaller 14-inch and possible even 13-inch ultrabooks.
“You're going to see lots and lots of ultrabooks on Ivy Bridge using 600M. HP, Dell, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, Lenovo, Acer, Asus -- all are going to use the 600M, and there will be a significant number of them building Ivy Bridge...ultrabooks,” said Haas.
The trouble with the 13-inch category seems to be the pricing, as it is close to Apple territory. Haas sees another alternative – fanless, ultrathin 13-inch devices in 2013. These could be classic clamshell notebooks, or convertible tablets, but they would have to have a more affordable price tag than current ultrabooks. Haas argued that vendors could use next-generation Tegra or Atom chips in such devices and it is worth noting that Intel already laid out plans for new Atom form factors late last year.
“So, you're going to have very thin systems that don't have fans that have tremendous battery life that are very different than the systems you see today. At really good price points,” said Haas.
With next generation ARM cores and Windows 8, the promise of ultrathin and ultra-cheap convertibles seems more real than ever. Mind you, Nvidia won’t be the only player in this emerging market. There are plenty of chip designers to choose from and quite a few vendors will also be pretty keen to jump on board.