Each year, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) generally hosts two Intel Developer Forums -- one in China (usually in the spring) and one in San Francisco (usually in the fall). These are developer-oriented conferences, but they're sometimes exciting to investors because Intel often launches new products and talks about future technology trends at these events.
Although Intel has yet to post the full "technical session" schedule for the upcoming IDF, it has published the "technical session tracks" on its website, which offer some sense of what kinds of topics will be in focus at the conference. Here are three things investors should expect from this year's session in San Francisco, which is expected to kick off on Aug. 18.
Details on Skylake, along with a launch?
According to Intel's technical session tracks page, it will detail its Skylake microarchitecture this year. Skylake, as you might know, is Intel's next-generation processor family that should bring solid performance, power, and feature improvements to the company's processors.
Lately, Intel has refused to talk about new technologies until they're in or nearly in the marketplace. That's a break from the past, when management would detail architectures months in advance of product availability. If Intel intends to spill the beans on Skylake in a technical deep dive this year, then I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see the company launch the first wave of Skylake chips at the event.
Some mobile tidbits, too?
Intel's webpage also cites a track titled "Mobile Devices: Innovations to Drive the Next Wave of Tablets, Phablets, and Smartphones." This, according to the page, will "review [Intel's] roadmap with a sneak peak [sic] at what's coming next."
The last several IDFs have been light on the mobile-related content, with the "presentations" usually lacking in interesting information. While I don't want to get my hopes up too much, I think there's a chance (albeit not a big one) the company might give investors a glimpse into Intel's next-generation Broxton chip for the high end and 14-nanometer SoFIA products for the midrange and low end.
Some insight into Intel's graphics architectures
Graphics have become an increasingly important technology for both the computing industry and for Intel. The company indicated it will dedicate an entire track to "graphics and visual computing," which the description says is applicable to everything from "tablets to 2 in 1s to workstations and servers."
Intel has very clearly stepped up its efforts to develop competitive graphics technologies, and with Skylake we should see the introduction of the company's next-generation graphics and media architecture known as "Gen. 9 graphics."
As this graphics technology will span from Intel's high-end tablet processors all the way to its servers, and will be an important part of the competitiveness of Intel's client products over the next year or so, I plan to pay close attention to the presentations in this particular track.
Don't expect this to be a catalyst for the stock
As interesting as the Intel Developer Forum is likely to be, particularly for investors with a technical bent, this is unlikely to be a "catalyst" for the stock. This is an event geared primarily to hardware/software developers, and the focus will be on technology and technology trends.
That said, understanding technologies and how they fit into the competitive landscape, and how new technologies might be used to develop products that customers might be eager to buy, are all -- in my view -- important parts of due diligence.