Will Intel Finally Crack Smartphones in 2014?

Intel is ready to challenge Qualcomm in the smartphone market.

Jan 12, 2014 at 5:00PM

Get a glimpse of what's on the tech horizon with Foolish reports from the field at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. Companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 businesses launch and showcase thousands of products at the event, which attracts visitors from all around the world.

Smartphone OEMs from Asus to Lenovo now have "Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) Inside," as do the lower-end Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Asha phones. Will Intel get some traction against Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) in 2014, or will compatibility with Android be an issue? 

There were countless trends emerging from CES 2014 this year, but the real question for investors is how to capitalize on these revolutionary opportunities. Fortunately for you, David Gardner has an idea or two on how to invest in these new emerging technologies -- and how you can profit. Get in on the ground floor now by clicking here.

A full transcript follows the video.

Eric Bleeker: Hey, Fools. I'm Eric Bleeker, joined here by Evan Niu, and we're coming from CES today. We are at Intel's booth, and we want to look specifically at some of the smartphones they have on display here.

As many investors out there know, ARM Holdings (NASDAQ:ARMH) has been the dominant force within processors in smartphones. You see Qualcomm building off that, especially within not just processors but some of the baseband components, the radio components.

What are you seeing from Intel on the floor here? Does it show you that they could be more competitive in this space?

Evan Niu: It seems like it. We were just taking a look at some of these phones over here. We've got pretty big OEMs onboard -- you've got Asus, Lenovo -- Intel's now getting a smidge lower-end, Nokia Asha phones.

Another interesting thing for me is that some of these phones are running Intel basebands. I think this next year, Intel is really going to try and challenge Qualcomm on the baseband side of it. I think we're seeing a little bit of traction here.

Eric: Yeah, we saw Intel buy Infineon to try and catch up in the space. Obviously, having closed the technology gap with Qualcomm, LTE's maturing gives some companies a chance to make moves there.

I noticed, I was using a 6-inch smartphone, playing a relatively non-intensive game, Fruit Ninja. I was actually seeing some lag on there, in different portions. What is the consensus right now on Intel being able to run within Android?

Evan: I think that's probably the biggest question for Intel, strategically, is how the performance of their chips will match up, just because most code isn't necessarily optimized for Intel chips.

It doesn't actually matter for most apps, but 3-D games, really processor-intensive apps, that's where we'll start to see that performance lag. Like you say, if you're just playing something like Fruit Ninja, that's not a really intensive game. If you're talking about some hardcore 3-D game it's probably not going to hold up well, because it's not optimized for an Intel chip quite yet.

Eric: Yeah, I was definitely surprised to see some lag there. In any case, Intel's showing off its smartphones, wants to be a player, hoping for 2014 to be its biggest year yet.

I'm Eric Bleeker with Evan Niu. Thanks for tuning in!

Eric Bleeker, CFA, has no position in any stocks mentioned. Evan Niu, CFA, owns shares of Qualcomm. The Motley Fool recommends Intel and owns shares of Intel and Qualcomm. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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