Yesterday, Intel announced the Studybook tablet, aimed at schools and the education sector in general, and there are a few aspects that left us puzzled.
Firstly, the price. At $199, this tablet (opens in new tab) is a bargain not only for students but also for the rest of us. It has a high resolution 7-inch capacitive touchscreen (1,024 by 600 pixels), two cameras, a whopping 1GB RAM, a 1.2GHz processor, loads of ports and boots on Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Remove the plastic protection and you have a design that can win because of Intel's marketing clout.
Then there's the fact that Intel uses an Oak Trail processor. This Intel Atom CPU, the Z650, runs at 1.2GHz, has 512KB L2 cache and was launched last year. It has a TDP of 3W and is possibly the biggest cost center of the tablet (a similar processor, the Z520PT costs $50). Could Intel have gone for a cheaper option instead? Possibly.
At the end of the day, Intel has a great product that can sell millions and it can get its ODM partners to push it out within weeks. The only reason why Intel didn't go down that route is because the likes of Asus or Gigabyte would be left with wafer thin margins.