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Tough Year Ahead For Intel Amidst Rough PC Sales

Intel’s woes seem to pile higher this year as the PC market continue to weaken.

The PC market is beaten by the explosive growth of the smartphone market, which continue to rise strongly. The smartphone industry is growing 50% year after year while the PCs demand continue to plunge this year. Analysts are not seeing any signs of comeback yet for the PC business.

However, Intel believes that the PC market will eventually recover as it tries to promote another batch of ultrabook laptops with voice and gesture recognition and low-power chip planned to be released next year.

During this week’s Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, which also happens coincidentally with Apple’s announcement of its new iPhone 5, the company showed off a wide range of mobile devices and laptops that have similar features found in smartphones today.

The new Haswell CPU, designed for use for laptops, shows Intel’s enthusiasm for the PC market. Consuming only 10 watts compared to standard 17 watts consumption rate of the current Ivy Bridge generation of chips, Intel’s new Haswell chip promises more power and more efficiency in personal computing industry.

But analysts from HIS iSuppli from Japan says Intel’s share of the processors market will fall from 35% to 29% this year amidst predictions that the market for tablets, smartphones, and PCs will grow double.

The definition of personal computing as well as mobile computing nowadays have become less clear as many manufacturers started to combine their desirable features and functions, mixing together performance, size, and prices. Examples would be the recent releases of Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

The main thrust of Intel is to show off its key innovations to both hardware developers and investors alike to convince them that the PC business is still as lucrative as it was many years ago.

During this week’s Intel Developer Forum, David Perlmutter, general manager of Intel’s Architecture Group, showcased laptops with removable keyboards and tablets with extendable screens that he pointed out might be boosted by the upcoming release of Microsoft’s new Windows 8 this coming October.

The main problem of Intel at this time is the exponential growth of tablets propelled by Apple’s iPad, which utilizes the chips made by rival ARM. Intel only managed to power a few million tablets on devices running Windows 7 in a year that saw Apple sell 17 million iPads in one quarter alone.

The company’s challenge is to reduce power consumption of its processors so it can match ARM’s chips used in tablets and smartphones. Less power consumption means longer battery life and increased mobility for mobile devices.

Haswell’s design is certainly is that direction to improve power efficiency. Intel is promoting the thin Ultrabook laptops citing its thin design with longer battery life. Both Wall Street investors and thousands of hardware developers are in a dilemma whether to focus their resources on the PC market or to mobiles using chips of Intel’s rival. To encourage hardware makers to make ultrabooks more popular, Intel put up a $300 investment fund to help makers produce more.

source: guardian

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