If we remember correctly, it was Intel's Paul Otellini who downplayed the impact of tablets in the PC market during the company's most recent earnings call. They may enter a market very much like netbooks and then develop into an additive market for an integrated PC business. However, we are now hearing that Intel may have shifted its view and created a business group within its mobile division that is focused on this new market segment as well as netbooks.
The "Netbook and Tablet Group" is apparently a new move to move swiftly into the tablet market while keeping an eye on netbooks. The New York Times quoted Intel PR director Bill Kircos stating that this was an "obvious and measured step" for the company. The unit will be led by Douglas Davis, who is in currently charge of Intel's embedded and communications group.
Was it necessary for Intel to dedicate a business group to tablets (and netbooks)? If you believe Intel's previous public market assessments you could think that Intel is falling for the hype and simply following a trend. However, there are more voices that are claiming that tablets and especially app centric devices will outrun unit sales of traditional PCs within a year or two. If that is the case, then Intel may even be a bit late with its focus and dedication to tablets.
Kircos told the Times that it anticipates netbook shipments to be "north of 100 million", but the company is still trying to figure out what the potential for tablets is.