A "new" Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) product road map was making the rounds this morning across various technology websites. The road map, as shown below, purports to detail Intel's PC product release plans through 2016.
According to this slide, Intel plans to launch 10-nanometer Cannon Lake processors during the second quarter of 2016 for Ultrabooks (Core i-series) and fanless 2-in-1s and clamshells (Core M series). You can also see that Intel seemingly planned to launch Skylake for high-end desktops (derived from Intel's Skylake-EP for servers) in the third quarter of 2016.
Unfortunately, I don't think investors can rely upon this road map. Here's why.
Calling Broadwell-E and Braswell
It is well known from recent road map leaks that Intel plans to launch a product known as Broadwell-E (derived from the server-oriented Broadwell-EP). In fact, the writers of the HWiNFO program state on their website that their program will identify Broadwell-EP processors, so I would be surprised if Intel skipped Broadwell-EP and simply launched "refreshed" Haswell-EP parts -- as the above road map suggests -- early next year.
Additionally, note that in the "Essential" row, the slide says Bay Trail-M/D (which launched in late 2013) will extend all the way through 2016. If you're familiar with Intel's recent product launches, it is immediately obvious that this doesn't line up with reality, as Intel launched the successor to Bay Trail-M/D, known as Braswell, in the first quarter of 2015.
I also believe that in 2016 Intel will introduce the successor to Braswell, known as Broxton, for low-cost PCs.
Broadwell mobile timing isn't quite right, either
Notice also that the road map suggests the quad-core mobile Broadwell parts ("M Proc. Line") were slated to roll out in late third-quarter/early fourth-quarter 2014. However, in January of this year, Intel said that these chips would launch in "mid-2015."
Additionally, note that this road map calls for Broadwell-U and Broadwell-Y parts to be released in late second-quarter/early third-quarter 2014. The initial Broadwell-Y (i.e. Core M) processors didn't roll out until the third quarter of 2014, and they did not show up in high volumes until early 2015.
Similarly, the road map calls for Intel to have launched Broadwell-U parts in late second-quarter/early third-quarter 2014, but those parts, too, didn't show up until the first quarter of 2015.
Cannon Lake timing looks too optimistic
According to the slide, Intel plans to launch Cannon Lake -- the 10-nanometer shrink of Skylake -- in the second quarter of 2016. Although this would be welcome news to Intel investors, there is enough evidence out there to suggest this launch timing is too optimistic.
For one thing, earlier this year, an Intel executive let slip to Gulf News that 10-nanometer parts would launch in early 2017. Intel officially "retracted" the statement, but the fact that the company won't publicly commit to an actual timeline means that this is the best we currently have.
One more thing about Cannon Lake
The slide above suggests the Skylake processors for "Traditional Desktops" will be refreshed with a part known as "Skylake Refresh" about a year after the initial launch. Although this would be in line with what Intel did with Haswell for desktops (skipping over Broadwell for all but a few niche SKUs), the following slide (via WCCFTech) seems to contradict that idea:
According to the slide, Intel plans to bring Cannon Lake to both mobile and the desktop, meaning there would be no need for a Skylake refresh in the latter segment.