Dual-core Atom processors are powering some of today's netbooks, while tablets are using single-core chips. Intel "will continue to evolve the roadmap," but the number of cores isn't the only important issue, Davis said. Performance-per-watt and battery life are key factors when it comes to competing against ARM-based devices. "You're going to continue to see us make great progress there," he said.
While tablet sales are starting to eat into netbook market share, Davis expressed optimism.
"What I would acknowledge is there hasn't been a lot of innovation in [the netbook] space in the last year or so," he said. "But we're going to see netbooks become very thin, and fanless. We're going to see technologies like Wireless Display and those kinds of things moving into netbooks. We're going to see a lot of things coming into that space."
Netbooks and tablets could even merge somewhat, giving users a small, touch-screen tablet with a slide-out keyboard, he noted. Obviously, netbook hardware will continue to improve. "In general you're going to see increasing capabilities in that regard," Davis said. "We've introduced dual-core. You'll continue to see improvements in visual capabilities, in terms of graphics performance."
Apple is likely to continue dominating the tablet market in the near term, but Davis said Intel will put up a strong fight. "The pace of innovation is moving very quickly," he said.
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