Home opinion-and-analysis Fuzzy Logic OEMs: time to take Intel reference designs more seriously

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Way back in 2007 I remember seeing Intel demonstrate 'slider' tablet PCs where the screen slid down from a vertical to a horizontal position over the keyboard to create a tablet - long before the iPad hit the scene.


OEMs, or original equipment manufacturers, are a funny bunch.

Yes, that's the Samsungs, Lenovos, HPs, Dells, Acers, Asuses and the rest of the PC manufacting world.

Why? Because some of the Ultrabook designs that are seeing the light of day in 2012, and some that are coming, were previewed five years ago at an Intel IDF developer forum that I was invited to.

There are two examples that stick in my mind. One was a very slim notebook PC with an e-ink display on its outer shell, giving you access to information that was on the PC even though it was 'off' and 'closed'.

The other was an ultrabook-style tablet laptop that saw the screen 'slide' down over the keyboard so the screen remained visible in 'tablet' mode - something we saw Intel demo during CES.

I've wondered, over the past five years, given the crap-tacularness of most pre-iPad Windows tablets, why none of the OEMs had the sheer guts needed to actually take some of Intel's reference designs on board and make them actual products.

Indeed, why the heck has it taken FIVE YEARS for a slider ultrabook-style laptop to go from Intel reference design to products that will ship this year sometime?

Had Intel and its OEMs pushed such devices back then, tablets running Windows would likely have been far more popular than they are today, but I guess we'll never know if that would have been the case, or not.

Of course, should these new slider ultrabook/tablets take off in a big way, one might have imagined that they'd have taken off back then too, but today's ultrabooks are the beneficiaries of far more advanced processor, multi-touch screen and SSD storage technologies than was available five years ago.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.

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