Tablets are the hot ticket in the computing space, if the comments by Intel CEO Paul Otellini are any indication. Otellini devoted a lot of time to the tablet space in his recent financial results call, and even acknowledged Apple’s iPad has impacted Intel’s business. All other iPad features aside, Intel has a big task taking on the iPad with tablets running its chips: long battery life. The 10+ hours of battery life on the iPad aren’t something Intel chipsets can easily deliver.
The 10 hours of battery life on the iPad aren’t merely a “manufacturer’s estimate;” it’s a solid reality for those using the tablet. The ability to run for longer than a day is a game changer for many iPad users, and the competition must deal with this. It is not clear how Intel-based products can achieve such long run times between charges without compromising the small, light form the iPad brings to the consumer. Existing products with Intel processors that get comparable run times are doing it by using large, heavy batteries; that’s not an option on tablets that will appeal to the average consumer.
To be fair, battery life isn’t the only feature that drives acceptance of a consumer tablet product, but it’s an important one. Perhaps upcoming Intel processors will make this easier to achieve than current chips. That’s what Intel is counting on, as Otellini indicated new Atom processors would be driving the company’s tablet business in the future. Competition is a good thing, so let’s hope Intel is able to deliver. The iPad has set the standard: 10 hours is the tablet battery benchmark, and anything less will not compete.
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