Intel Corporation's Broadwell Has Impeccable Timing

After several delays, Intel's new chip could be in PCs just as tablet growth slows.

May 20, 2014 at 12:30PM

While it seems inevitable that tablets will overtake PCs as the primary computing device, that hasn't come true as fast as many have predicted. Though the heyday of the PC is long over, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) investors have something to look forward to as the company's new Broadwell processors ship later this year, just as tablet sales are slowing. This news could even improve if Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) decides to add the processors to a revamped MacBook Air.

What makes Broadwell so special?
Intel showed off its Broadwell chip back in September, but the processor has suffered a few setbacks since then. This week, though, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich guaranteed that Broadwell would be ready for the holiday season "... and not at the last second of holiday," he told Reuters.

Broadwell will be a significant jump forward for PCs because it's built on 14-nanometer tech, allowing the processors to use up to 30% less power than the current Intel Haswell chips while maintaining the same processing power. Haswell chips are currently built at the larger 22-nanometer size.

The combination of increased processing power and increased battery efficiency will help Broadwell differentiate itself from older PC chips.

Perfect timing
In a recent investor note, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty reduced her tablet sales projections, citing week demand and a lack of diversified products. Here's what she had to say:

We lower our 2014 tablet growth forecast to 12% from 26% on the back of increasing penetration rates and the lack of new, differentiated products. Although slower tablet growth should help PC demand, our global PC model remains largely unchanged at -5% in 2014 and 2015.

She's not the only one that feels this way. Earlier this month, Tom Mainelli, of IDC said, "The rise of large-screen phones and consumers who are holding on to their existing tablets for ever longer periods of time were both contributing factors to a weaker-than-anticipated quarter for tablets and 2-in-1s."

While PC shipments may not necessarily be on the rise, lower tablet demand could help boost PC sales this year and Broadwell could help make it happen.

New chip for a new device?
Aside from better power management and processing speed, Broadwell chips are also capable of running in fanless devices like tablets or even the rumored 12-inch fanless MacBook Air. While Apple obviously hasn't made any mention of a redesigned MacBook Air, there's been a lot of talk in the media about a new fanless Retina display Air that could debut before the end of the year. Broadwell could power such a device quite nicely, while still keeping with the Air's current 12-hour battery life -- or bump it up even higher.

Foolish thoughts
While the PC market is clearly in a long-term decline, the slight stabilization of the industry can definitely help Intel. The company gets 80% of its revenue from PC and server processors, and it's no secret the company's mobile revenue isn't doing so hot. In the first quarter of 2014, Intel's phone and tablet business posted a quarterly operating loss of $900 million.

While Intel investors can't stake the company's future on Broadwell, it's still a good thing that the chip is debuting at a time when tablet growth seem to be slowing and PCs sales are decreasing at a slower rate. If Intel can score its Broadwell processor into a new MacBook Air design or future MacBook Pros, it could be yet another small bright spot in its PC business.

Intel's next step 
Investors know that Intel can't bank on the PC market forever, but they many not realize that nearly every major tech company will soon need to embrace a new wave of mobile technology. While Intel is only at the beginning stages of making the change, there's one company that may be better poised to benefit from a future steeped in wearable technology. The Motley Fool's put together a free report on this wearable tech play, and you can access it now for free -- just click here.

Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple and Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers