Between new processors, smartphones developments, tablet updates, and Ultrabook refinements, Intel's (Nasdaq: INTC ) CES event had lots for investors to mull over. I've gone through the event to give you Intel's most notable happenings of 2013.
1. 7-watt computing! Available to OEMs now, Intel announced a 7-watt version of its Ivy Bridge line of processors for tablets and Ultrabooks, offering a dramatic energy improvement over the previous 17 -watt version. Intel claims the chip will offer five times the performance compared to NVIDIA's (Nasdaq: NVDA ) Tegra 3. Overall, this will likely force OEMs to upgrade their inventories, which should provide a nice boost to chip sales for Intel.
2. Haswell still light on details. Haswell , Intel's highly anticipated successor to Ivy Bridge was light on details, but the company did mention that Haswell will be the single greatest improvement in battery life between generations in Intel's history. According to Intel, these devices should deliver in the neighborhood of 13- hour battery life on a single charge. That's an impressive accomplishment for the notoriously power hungry x86 architecture. Investors can expect to see Haswell-powered devices in the spring.
1. Lexington aims low. Intel announced Lexington, a less expensive and improved version of its Medfield chipset, intended for the low-end smartphone and tablet market in such places as India and Africa. Acer and Lava have signed up to develop phones based on Lexington. Investors, though, shouldn't expect Intel to make a big splash on the mobile scene until its next-generation Merrifield platform hits the scene. We will hopefully know more at the Mobile World Congress in February.
1. Bay Trail seeks to dominate. Ready in time for next holiday season, Bay Trail is a quad-core, 22-nanometer Atom SoC processor suited for both Windows 8 and Android tablets. Aside from twice the performance gain, it will be cheaper, offer improved battery life, and should bring some serious competition to ARM Holdings' (Nasdaq: ARMH ) Cortex-A15 .
1. Touch required. North Cape , Intel's fourth-generation Ultrabook reference design featuring Haswell, will require OEMs to include a touchscreen and WiDi, the company's wireless media streaming. Investors can expect $599 touchscreen Ultrabooks by the end of the year. This could indirectly benefit Corning, the creator of Gorilla Glass.
1. Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA ) tie-in. Future Intel devices will have the ability to stream live Xfinity cable programming without the use of a set-top box. Come the fall, if it has Intel Inside, it will be eligible for this service. The caveat? You're restricted to streaming in your home, essentially rendering this development quite useless. Bummer.
Slow and steady
Aside from 7-watt processors, the first half of 2013 will likely not be a very exciting time for Intel shareholders. The latter half of the year should give Intel more footing in such high-growth areas as tablets and smartphones, but I don't expect it to hit any home runs just yet. It's going to take a few more years until processes advance to the point where Intel becomes the most compelling chip manufacturer (and architecture) on the planet. Until then, Intel shares offer extreme value and a healthy 4.3% dividend while you wait, making Intel my extreme value pick for 2013.
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