Intel is flexing its manufacturing muscle in an attempt to get inside your next phone. To do that, it has entered a licensing deal with ARM, according to a report from Bloomberg. Without this license, excess manufacturing space goes to waste. But with it, Intel can make processors for Apple, Qualcomm and Samsung -- the biggest players in smartphones. This gives Intel a much-needed boost in the mobile space that it couldn't achieve on its own.
The ARM deal also gives Intel a foot in the door with VR hardware, which might help explain the company's new Project Alloy all-in-one headset. And if you're playing along at home, yep, these production lines will include those making 10-nanometer chips. So, more money for Intel and possibly faster and better processors for your mobile device. ARM itself was recently picked up by Japanese tech-giant Softbank for $32 billion. So yeah, this is a pretty big deal although specifics regarding the money involved aren't known at this time.
With the PC market declining, this gives Intel a chance to get into mobile without technically getting into mobile itself. The company is alreadyrumored to be making the modem chips for Apple and this deal could put Intel silicon elsewhere inside future iPhones. First in line to test out Intel's tasty production lines? LG, which, according to Intel, will "produce a world-class mobile platform based on Intel Custom Foundry's 10 nm design platform."
Intel's slowdown in PC business offset by growth in data center
Intel kicked off the latest tech earnings season Tuesday, reporting first-quarter results mostly in line with lowered expectations, following the chipmaker's updated estimates last month.
The company reported a net income of approximately $2 billion, or 42 cents per share, a 3 percent rise compared to the same period last year. Non-GAAP earnings were 41 cents per share on a revenue of $12.8 billion, flat year over year. Wall Street was looking for earnings of 41 cents per share with revenue of at least $12.9 billion.
Headlining the report, Intel attributed the results to the slowdown of the PC business, which was offset by "growth in data center, Internet of Things (IoT) and non-volatile memory businesses."
Intel CFO Stacy Smith stressed these results were in line with the updated estimates Intel provided in March, but he admitted they are below the projections originally offered last quarter.
Intel is only one of many publicly traded companies shifting (and often lowering) outlooks throughout the quarter in reflection of dramatic currency fluctuations, notably a stronger US dollar. Still, Intel shares performed better in after-hours trading, inching upward by 3 percent initially after the report was released.
Just last week, Intel announced it would be altering its reporting structure, merging the PC Client Group with results for the mobile and communications unit to create the overall Client Computing Group. The Santa Clara, Calif., company said this was done "to address all aspects of the client computing market segment and utilize Intel's intellectual property to offer compelling customer solutions."
Thus, with $7.4 billion in revenue during the first quarter, the Client Computing department started off with revenue slipping by 16 percent sequentially and 8 percent annually.
Data centers did better on an annual basis, producing $3.7 billion in revenue, up 19 percent year over year. The Internet of Things department also grew revenue by 11 percent year over year to $533 million in the first quarter. The Internet of Things refers to the idea of connecting more devices and objects to the Web.
"These results reinforce the importance of continuing to execute our growth strategy," Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in Tuesday's report.
Software and services, however, slipped with $534 million in revenue, down 3 percent year over year.
Intel was expected on Tuesday to shed light on the company's goal to ramp up profitability for its mobile strategy by $800 million in 2015. However, neither the first-quarter report nor the CFO commentary included a breakout about mobile expectations.
For the current quarter, Wall Street expects Intel to deliver earnings of 48 cents per share and $13.51 billion in revenue. Intel responded with a much softer outlook of roughly $13.2 billion in revenue, plus or minus $500 million. The tech giant also lowered its annual revenue outlook, expecting things to remain flat from 2014 to the end of 2015.
Updated: During the afternoon conference call, Smith assured analysts that Intel is on track to achieving its "annual goal of improving mobile profitability by $800 million with the majority of improvements to be realized in the back half of the year."
A big part of this will be relying on offsetting trends in the same way Intel's data center and IoT groups helped make up revenue as PCs declined this quarter.
Smith explained that the newly formed Client Computing Group, which again now includes mobile, was "driven by a 16 percent decline in desktop unit volume partially offset by a 3 percent increase in notebook volume."
Intel CEO shows off button sized computer system controlled by wristband
Intel has shown of a terrifying glimpse of the future - a swarm of robot spiders that can be controlled with a flick of the wrist.
At the chip giant's developers forum in China, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich revealed the demonstration to show off the firm's button sized computed and controller wristband.
He was able to cause lights on the robots to change shape, and control their movement from the bans.
The robots were powered by Curie, a computer the size of a button developed by Intel. 'Today, I want to show you another example of Curie,' he explained. 'We put together a small wristband that can be used and has Curie on it. 'We connected Curie to these robots, spiderbots we call them, and they are talking to each other.
'My motions will control them. To wake the robots, he lifted his hand. 'They're excited to be here today'.
'Here's my favourite bit, I've got make sure I do this right', he said, before fistbumping - with the spiders following.
He was then able to put the spiderbots to 'sleep' with another gesture. 'This is just the beginning our work with Curie, he said.
'The curie wristband can understand motion, and actually interpret if you're running, walking of swimming,' said Krzanich. 'The Intel Curie module is a tiny hardware product based on the Intel Quark SE system chip, which is the company's first purpose-built system on a chip for wearable devices,' the firm said.
It contains Bluetooth low-energy radio, sensors and battery charging technologies.
Krzanich said that there's a dedicated sensor hub processor and pattern classification engine that allows it, for example, to identify different sporting activities quickly and precisely.