The company hired extra engineering and marketing talent specifically for tablets, ramped up its social campaigns with some employees trashing ARM processors, and now it appears that the interest in tablets has all but faded?
In a recent interview with PC World, Intel highlighted once again the advantage of ultrabooks over tablets as being content creation versus content consumption devices. The message is that tablets are nice to have, but if you have work that needs to get done, you need a notebook. Similarly, Intel has been describing tablets as "lean-back" devices, while notebooks are "lean-forward" devices. Imagine yourself with a tablet or a notebook sitting in a coffee shop and you can easily visualize the pitch.
For Intel, an ultrabook merges the worlds of the tablet and the notebook and offers the best of both worlds. Of course, that comparison only works if we ignore the fact that the big deal about the tablet is that it has successfully changed the user-interface from a physical keyboard to touch, while the user interface of the ultrabook is still similar to the one offered in the very first notebook - the Compaq LTE, which was released in 1989.
Intel will begin competing in the tablet space with the release of Windows 8 later this year. Intel's message may change again from being rather negative to much more positive until then.
For now, Intel seems to be concentrating on marketing the ultrabook as epic and cinematic as possible.