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3 Intel Product Launches to Expect in 2019

By Ashraf Eassa - Updated Apr 18, 2019 at 5:23PM

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A look at what the chipmaker has in store.

Check out the latest Intel earnings call transcript.

Chip giant Intel (INTC 1.01%) spends vast amounts of money on research and development each year, in a bid to craft new products to sell. In some markets, such as personal computers and smartphones, Intel's customers demand new chips each year so that they can launch new products of their own on an annual cadence. 

Here, I'd like to go over three products the chip giant is set to release in 2019.

Intel CCG chief, Gregory Bryant, holding an Ice Lake chip.

Image source: Intel.

XMM 7660, coming to an iPhone near you

Last year, Intel began selling a cellular modem known as the XMM 7560. The main customer is Apple (AAPL 1.72%), which uses those chips to handle the cellular connectivity functions in its latest iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max smartphones. 

For Intel to continue to win Apple's business, it needs to ensure that it releases increasingly capable cellular modems on a strict annual cadence. Indeed, since Apple is Intel's key modem customer -- a customer so demanding that Intel has apparently turned away other potential customers -- and since Apple releases new iPhones at roughly the same time each year, Intel needs to be ready to go with new modems in lockstep with Apple's needs. 

To that end, Intel is planning to launch a new modem called the XMM 7660 later this year, which promises to improve on the XMM 7560 in key ways such as peak download speeds and the number of bands a smartphone based on the modem can support simultaneously. 

Cellular modems aren't Intel's bread-and-butter, but sales of those products are increasingly becoming material to the company's client computing group.

Snow Ridge to fuel Intel's base station ambitions

At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, the head of Intel's data center group, Navin Shenoy, demonstrated a product called Snow Ridge that's targeted at 5G cellular base stations. 

Intel says Snow Ridge "has been developed specifically for 5G wireless access and edge computing" and that it's "intended to bring Intel architecture into wireless access base stations and allow more computing functions to be distributed out at the edge of the network." 

Although a chip in itself might not be that interesting to many investors, here's something that might be: Intel claims that with Snow Ridge, and future products like it, it'll go from having had 0% share in base stations in 2014 to having north of a 40% share by 2022. Intel has been talking about how networking silicon is a key growth driver for the data center group, and capturing that much share in base stations should certainly help.

Snow Ridge, Intel says, will be "available in the second half of this year" and will be produced using the company's 10nm manufacturing technology.

Ice Lake for laptops

Finally, Intel saidit'll be launching a processor that goes by the code name "Ice Lake" for the notebook computer market. This product is noteworthy for a number of reasons: It's manufactured using the company's 10nm technology, making its way into its first high-volume product, and it incorporates the company's new Sunny Cove CPU cores as well as its Gen. 11 graphics cores -- the first time in many years that Intel's mainstream Core CPU product line will receive updated CPU and graphics cores.

On top of that, Intel says that Ice Lake will have built-in Wi-Fi 6, as well as Thunderbolt 3 support. That increased level of integration is something major computer makers should find valuable.

It'll be a while before we see Ice Lake, though. The company is only committing to systems on shelves based on the processor for the holiday 2019 shopping season.

Ashraf Eassa has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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