| SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 7
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 7 Intel Corp will
tout a new generation of processors next week that consume less
power, hoping to reinvigorate a stagnant personal computer
industry and soothe increasing concerns about its growth.
Wall Street is reassessing its outlook for the top chipmaker
after Hewlett-Packard Co and Inc warned last
month of weak demand for PCs.
At least eight analysts have reduced their revenue estimates
for the dominant PC chipmaker since August 23, pointing to poor
economies in Europe, the United States and China, as well as the
growing popularity of mobile gadgets.
"The risk of a (negative) preannouncement is extremely high
at this point," said Patrick Wang, an analyst at Evercore
Partners. "I think the supply chain is reeling at the elevated
levels of inventory out there."
The top chipmaker is banking on Microsoft Corp's
much anticipated launch of its Windows 8 platform in October to
help slow the growing numbers of consumers buying smartphones
and tablets instead of personal computers.
Devices running Windows 8 and powered by Intel's latest
components will be a major draw when thousands of technology
professionals descend on the annual Intel Developer Forum in San
Francisco next week.
Analysts on average expect revenue of $14.2 billion when
Intel reports its third-quarter results in October, still well
within the company's forecast of $13.8 billion to 14.8 billion
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
But in a further sign of growing investor caution, the ratio
of put options for Intel shares to call options has risen close
to highs not seen since 2006, said Jim Strugger, a derivatives
strategist at MKM Partners.
Fears of slowing global PC shipments have helped push
Intel's shares down about 11 percent since the end of April.
At the forum, Intel's next-generation PC processor,
codenamed Haswell, will be front and center, with executives
talking up improved power performance letting future laptops
stay on longer without needing a recharge.
Haswell, due to appear in a crop of laptops released for
next year's holiday season, will improve on computing and
graphics features and is targeted to slash electricity
consumption from 17 watts to 10 watts, according to Intel.
Intel is also expected to show off a range of Ultrabook
laptops powered by recently launched Ivy Bridge processors, as
well as hybrid devices with screens that detach from keyboards
to be used as tablets.
Intel's processors are used in 80 percent of the world's PCs
but the Santa Clara, California company has been slow to adapt
its chips for smartphones and tablets and now trails Qualcomm
Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, which
design their chips using power-efficient technology licensed
from ARM Holdings Plc.
The combined market for PCs, smartphones and tablets is
expected to almost double over the next four years, but Intel's
share of the processors used in them will dip from 35 percent to
29 percent, according to a report this week from IHS iSuppli.
Underscoring mobile gadgets' heft in the tech industry,
Apple on Wednesday will become a distraction for participants at
Intel's forum when it holds a nearby event where it is expected
to launch its newest iPhone.
MORE AND MORE CHOICES
The upcoming introduction of tablets running a version of
Windows 8 designed to work with ARM-based chips is creating
additional uncertainty for manufacturers trying to predict what
kinds of new devices will catch on with consumers, said Vijay
Rakesh, an analyst at Sterne Agee.
Previous versions of Windows worked only with "x86" chips
made by Intel and smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices.
"The issue is, can we have x86- and ARM-based systems?
That's still a question mark," Rakesh said. "And then, what is
the pricing of these systems versus the iPads and Kindles and
other tablets that are out there?"
Intel's new Medfield processor, showcased in phones launched
this year in Russia, India and the United Kingdom, surprised
some critics who believed the chips would consume too much
Motorola Mobility, owned by Google Inc, is expected
to unveil an Intel-based smartphone in London on September 18,
the first of a multi-device agreement with the chipmaker.
"They have a respectable seat at the (mobile) table because
they surprised a lot of people with Medfield and just how well
that did perform," said Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights &
Strategy. "Their big chance to get more credibility will come