Intel Corp. (INTC), the largest semiconductor maker, demonstrated a power-sipping design called Haswell that is aimed at making the company’s chips more effective in portable computing devices.
“It was designed with mobility in mind,” Intel Executive Vice President David Perlmutter said at a company conference today in San Francisco. Intel uses the annual three-day Developer Forum to show off the technology it seeks to induce computer makers to adopt.
Intel is under pressure to sign up buyers for its chips after trimming its third-quarter sales prediction last week amid a slump in personal-computer demand. The revised outlook adds to evidence of a shift toward smartphones and tablets, areas where Intel has struggled to win orders.
The company’s answer is to produce chips that can get by with less power even as they run software faster. The company is betting that it can drum up demand for a type of slimmed-down PC known as an Ultrabook, which Intel considers an alternative to mobile devices such as Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPad.
There are 70 Ultrabook designs on the market and, among those that will go on sale soon, 40 will have touch screens, Intel Vice President Kirk Skaugen said in a separate briefing. Intel research shows that convertibles -- machines that can be flipped from a notebook form factor to use as a tablet -- are gaining the most attention from potential purchasers, he said.
“More are launching with touch in the next month than are in the entire marketplace right now,” he said. “There’s more innovation coming to the PC market in the next 12 months to 18 months than there’s been in the last 10 years.”
Intel is sticking to its prediction that 40 percent of consumer laptops shipped will be Ultrabooks by the end of the year, Skaugen said. The goal is aggressive and contingent on a strong holiday shopping season, he said.
The Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker so far has failed to parlay its success in PCs into market-share gains in chips for phones. The first smartphones built around Intel chips debuted in India and Europe this year.
“People are highly skeptical of any diversification effort” by Intel, said Tristan Gerra, a San Francisco-based analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. While Intel wants to focus on the capabilities of its new products, investors are more concerned about diminishing near-term PC-market growth, he said.
Tablet sales will exceed notebook sales by the second half of 2013, according to an estimate by Piper Jaffray Cos. The iPad, Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Nexus 7 and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN)’s Kindle Fire all run on chips made with technology from ARM Holdings Plc. (ARM)
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has chosen Intel, along with ARM technology licensees Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN) and Nvidia Corp. (NVDA), to help it introduce tablets that use the newest version of Windows software, which will debut in October.
Intel said last week that third-quarter sales will be $12.9 billion to $13.5 billion, down from a prior projection of $13.8 billion to $14.8 billion. Analysts on average had estimated sales of $14.2 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
That new forecast demonstrates uncertainty about the prospects for Windows 8 and which type of device will succeed, according to Baird’s Gerra.
Intel shares rose less than 1 percent to $23.34 at the close in New York, leaving the stock down 3.8 percent this year. Market researcher Gartner Inc. predicts the PC market will grow 2 percent to 372.3 million units in 2012. Next year, the market will expand 12 percent to 415.5 million units.
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