Intel has begun promoting Android “convertible” devices to vendors, as a way to make up for a lack of interest in Windows 8-powered computers, with Lenovo already on-board, according to reports.
The intention is to create hybrid tablet/netbook devices similar to Acer’s Iconia W range or Dell’s Latitude 10, but using Android rather than Microsoft’s latest OS.
Asus has already offered a similar device in the form of its Nvidia-powered Transformer Pad (pictured).
According to reports originating from DigiTimes – which has a hit-and-miss reputation for its stories – Lenovo will launch a device in May, with HP, Toshiba, Acer and Asus set to follow.
It was suggested that with customers familiar with Android, with the addition of some “light” office applications, the proposition could attract strong demand.
Intel believes the target price point would need to be around $500, and devices would need detachable keyboards in order to support use as a tablet, the report suggests.
While Microsoft has released little data on Windows 8 take-up, it has been widely reported that customer demand has been lacklustre.
The platform is designed to have a touch-friendly user interface which would make it better suited to “convertible” devices than earlier versions, while also offering support for legacy Windows applications.
The launch of Android-powered convertible devices would essentially mark the rebirth of the netbook, a device category which many have proclaimed moribund, with the addition of a touchscreen.
Indeed, early versions of the netbook, powered by Linux, were intended to provide a lightweight computing experience not dissimilar to Android, before vendors started creating more expensive devices running Windows.
The advantage of the convertible form factor over the netbook – or indeed pure-play tablet – is that it can be used in touch-drive, slate mode for content consumption, and with the keyboard attached for more intensive data-input tasks.