January 24, 2011

Intel iPad, We Came So Close …

An Intel iPad, “we came so close …”  Intel developers reminiscing on what could have been.

Is it lessons learnt? Or crying over spilled milk?

Intel iPad?

In 2001 Intel had a touch tablet design ready, with hardware specs somewhat similar to today’s tablets – designed for Internet browsing, touch-screen display, ARM cpu, Vxworks OS, mp3 player etc. The device would have sold as the Intel Web Tablet. Andy Grove liked and promoted the product within Intel.

Intel Web Tablet

Intel in 2001 found it easier to keep pouring fuel on existing fires (by building new fabs for microprocessors) rather than building new fires (such as tablets). The result … 2011, when Intel is far behind in the fastest growing markets today (tablets, smartphones) and is in a marathon effort trying to chase Apple’s iPad and Android tablets.

And, as Apple’s iPad has proven, it is not just the hardware spec that sells. Along with good hardware an awesome user experience, huge number of apps, consumer price and a vibrant ecosystem is needed to attract users.

Unfortunately for Intel, while it is good in delivering microprocessors, it continues to deliver a very poor user experience. A prime example is Intel’s website linked above.

Can Intel catch up again?