Tablets and laptops get closer than ever with new developments
While tablets and laptop computers have competed for much of the same space, the components running on the two electronic devices have maintained some separation to this point. That may change in 2012 as developments in both devices seem to be bringing them closer together.
Other than form factor, the two key differences between laptops and tablets have been operating systems and processors. Most laptops are based on traditional operating systems, like Windows® or OS X®, while tablet computers have run on their own software, including Google's Android™ and Apple's iOS. That will change in 2012, when Microsoft® rolls out its Windows 8 OS, which will run on both tablets and laptops.
Processors, meanwhile, have followed a similar path. For decades, Intel® has reigned supreme in the traditional PC space, with some competition from rivals like Advanced Micro Devices and NVIDIA®. Tablet processors have mostly been based on the ARM architecture, with chips from the likes of Qualcomm® and others. However, traditional chipmakers are now making a play at tablet technology in hopes of capitalizing on the growing market.
How the old guard will fair in the tablet market is not clear. So far, Microsoft, Intel and others have struggled to make significant contributions to the technology. As the competition heats up, however, more opportunities may present themselves.