After an anonymous source recently told CNET that Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) has started shipping early versions of its new Haswell chip to customers in preparation for a June 2013 release, no one would blame you for being skeptical. But the CNET rumor coincides with earlier reports of Intel’s next-great-thing hitting the streets in June, and Intel’s Developer Forum kicks off April10, which would be an ideal setting for a big announcement, wouldn’t it? For shareholders nervously awaiting its April 16 earnings release, positive Haswell news would be welcome indeed.
What’s the big deal?
Even as the S&P 500 flirts with new highs and boasts a nearly 9% return year to date and 11% in the past year, Intel shareholders are stuck lamenting its poor performance. Compared to the S&P, its stock is downright pitiful: up just 1.25% for 2013 and down more than 25% for the past year. Ouch.
Outgoing Intel CEO Paul Otellini shoulders much of the blame. Intel was late to the cloud and mobile computing parties, and the ever-declining PC market has investors spooked. But the company’s data center revenues continue to grow and are key to its cloud computing growth. Its foray into the smartphone market is under way with its made-for-mobile Atom processor, a solid foundation to build on (hopefully!). And now, news that Haswell will hit the shelves in June should be music to the ears of investors.
In addition to speed, the new Haswell chip is said to be an improvement in several key aspects of mobile computing. According to Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), it will give users a richer graphical experience without sacrificing performance. Mobile devices’ abilities to stream videos, play 3-D games, and share pictures are limited by today’s processors. Haswell aims to change all that.
Another key advantage: It’s powerful enough to give tablets the abilities of full-fledged PCs. Mobile computing’s well and good, but not everyone can, or wants to, work from the local coffee shop. Perhaps its most impressive feature is that, according to Intel and various rumors, it accomplishes all of the above and still provides improved energy efficiency over existing alternatives. Short battery life is the bane of mobile users, not just gamers and streaming-movie buffs.