Intel Is Building An Android Laptop. For $200.

Intel is apparently throwing down with Microsoft over Windows 8, while simultaneously making a bid to keep the laptop form factor alive.

Intel, which still makes the majority of the world’s microprocessors, isn’t goofing around with prices in general; it’s publicly stated that it expects prices for “ultrabooks” to scrape below $500. But apparently that isn’t quite good enough for Intel:

Dadi Perlmutter, Intel executive vice president and chief product officer, told CNET on Wednesday that notebooks priced at the $200 level will predominantly be Android products running on Intel’s Atom mobile processor. Whether Windows 8 PCs hit that price largely depends on Microsoft, he said.

Apparently, these will be largely based around Intel’s Atom systems-on-a-chip, specifically the upcoming Bay Trail, and might possibly be convertible netbooks, meaning they’d basically be tablets with a free keyboard, and would compete with Google’s flagship Nexus 7 in the price range. This would also handily dodge the problems involved in making a “true” Android laptop.

Intel has worked with Google before: The majority of Chromebooks run on Intel chips. And Android laptops are nothing new, per se, although they’re largely either complete crap from no-name manufacturers or little more than children’s toys sold at Sears. But this is essentially Intel leap-frogging Google in some respects: Many expected Chrome and Android to be combined into a laptop OS that can be used for more than goofily-designed curiosities.

If nothing else, more and cheaper computers are always a good thing. The more people with one, the better.