Intel is investing $300 million on chips for tablet PCs in a move to counter the dominance of Apple, whose iPads and iPhones don't use Intel processors.
Intel Capital, the in-house venture capital arm of the world's biggest chip maker, has deployed nearly $11 billion investing in about 1,100 companies, some of which it bought. Now it's set up the Ultrabook Fund for the mobile sector.
Apple, though, has become the market share king with its iPhones, and its iPads have revolutionized the tablet market. Rather than an Intel chip, the Apple devices use chips with Britain's ARM Holdings' architecture which are made by Intel competitors, including Texas Instruments and Qualcomm.
Intel dubs the category "ultrabook computing" and said it's targeting tablets that are thin, have prolonged battery life, start up immediately and sell for less than $1,000. Intel Capital didn't disclose which companies it has invested in but said it hopes to have some products ready later this year.
Intel, based in Santa Clara, Calif., shouldn't be discounted for its marketing prowess. The company has spent lavishly on its "Intel Inside" campaign that has won brand loyalty for decades.
This could be good for all users of tablets as well as PCs because it indicates a convergence of the operating systems for the PC as well as for the smartphones and tablets, which until now have deployed separate operating systems.
Analysts like Peter Misek of Jefferies have suggested Apple, based in nearby Cupertino, is probably doing the same thing, reportedly merging its Mac OS 6 for laptops with its iOS in the iPhone and iPad, as soon as the fourth quarter.