Microprocessor giant Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) is planning to host an in-depth presentation about its chip manufacturing technology at its developer forum, known as the Intel Developer Forum, in August. In particular, the company will be hosting what it calls a "Technology Insight" session titled "Building Winning Products with Intel Advanced Technologies and Custom Foundry Platforms."
The presentation will be hosted by Intel Senior Fellow Mark Bohr and Intel Vice President Zane Ball. The company apparently plans to cover a pretty broad range of topics, many of which should be of interest to some investors.
Let's take a closer look at what Intel plans to cover.
Intel 10-nanometer tech details
Intel says that during this presentation, it will provide "key innovations and Intel's 10nm highlights." The company has been rather mum about its 10-nanometer technology aside from claims around density and relative cost-per-transistor in fairly vague terms.
It would seem that Intel is finally ready to spill the beans here. Not only should we learn about the sort of density/area scaling this technology is expected to provide, but the company may even reveal some of the key structural and materials enhancements made to the transistor itself.
What's in a name?
At various investor events, Intel has tried to make the point to investors that technology names (i.e., "14nm" and "10nm") aren't always useful in trying to gauge the competitiveness of technologies from different manufacturers.
During this presentation, Intel apparently intends to provide an analysis of the technology-naming schemes from its competition. Remember that Intel's biggest competitor, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (NYSE:TSM), plans to go into production on its "10-nanometer" technology early next year and its "7-nanometer" technology the year after that.
Intel, in contrast, isn't expected to go into production on its own 10-nanometer technology until next year. Its 7-nanometer technology is likely to go into production approximately three years after its 10 nanometer goes into production. From a naming perspective, Intel will clearly be "behind," but the company is almost certainly going to try to show why this won't be the case when it comes to the underlying technology.
Intel Custom Foundry apparently isn't dead
Intel signaled some time ago that it would like to start manufacturing chips for third-party customers. There have been a few small customers that have signed on to use the company's manufacturing technology, but aside from Altera -- which Intel actually went out and bought -- Intel has yet to announce any really high profile contract chip manufacturing wins.
Interestingly, the description of this session on Intel's site indicates that a good amount of time will be dedicated to talking about Intel Custom Foundry. Intel even claims that it will talk about "customer success stories."
It would be nice if Intel were to follow this presentation up with a discussion of Intel Custom Foundry at its investor meeting later this year. It's clear that the company has been investing significantly in Intel Custom Foundry, but there are a lot of aspects that remain a mystery to shareholders.
For example, when should investors expect to see a material revenue contribution from foundry customers? What types of customers is Intel trying to attract? How large of a revenue opportunity does Intel see from its foundry efforts over the long term? How about potential operating margin targets?