Intel (INTC) has seen quite a volatile journey in the last one year with negative return of around 25%. The company earlier ruled the chip making market for years, when personal computers ((PCs)) were gaining momentum. However, with the rapid growth of smart devices, the market share of Intel has been reduced to a large extent. Various mobile oriented companies such as Qualcomm (QCOM) and ARM Holdings (ARMH) have grabbed the market share of Intel, amid falling PC demand. I am long on both Qualcomm as well as ARM Holdings. (Read my coverage on them here and here). In the coming years, Intel is aiming to launch some significant mobile chips, to regain what it has lost. Let's find out what it means for the company as well as for the investors.
The shining future
At this point, it is highly important for Intel to establish a strong footprint in the mobile ecosystem. On February 13, Intel announced few new products at the Mobile World Congress 2013. These products are aimed toward enhancing the company's presence in mobile devices. The most interesting among them is the 'Clover Trail+' platform for smartphones and tablets. Intel is claiming its new line of chips under this platform, to be more effective in terms of low-power consumption and healthy battery life. It includes three dual-core chips, which are compatible with Android smartphones/ tablets. However, these chips will work the best with Intel's mobile and tablet platforms. Eventually, the superior performance of these chips will also drive a huge demand for Intel mobiles and tablets. The Clover Trail+ platform already has a list of customers in its support including Lenovo, ZTE, Asustek, HP and Samsung.
Another important announcement made by Intel at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 was its multi-core atom processor designed especially for tablets. Better known as Bay Trail, these processors will be ready for shipment in the last quarter of 2013. These processors would power both Android as well as Windows tablets. The company is claiming this to be its fastest atom processor till date with 10 hr+ battery life and twice the computing performance of the existing processors.
With these announcements, Intel is clearly targeting Microsoft Corporation's (MSFT) Windows RT. The Clover Trail-based tablets beat Windows RT tablets based on ARM processors from ARM Holdings on many fronts. The Clover Trail-based devices will support all Windows apps, which are missing in the Windows RT tablets. Also, it includes apps such as Adobe Photoshop, classic Windows games and full screen apps from the Windows store. One can choose Clover Trail tablet over ARM based on two strong reasons. Firstly, it supports legacy Windows apps, and secondly, it is faster in terms of processing power. On the other side, in terms of visuals, ARM-based tablets have an edge.
The lucrative deal
Intel's trump card in the whole process will be having Apple Inc. (AAPL) as its most important customer for mobile processors. Both these companies are already in discussion since the last one year, and are yet to reach any agreement. Apple is looking for various choices to shift from its current processors, which are manufactured by Samsung. Both Apple and Intel are best in their respective businesses and know that this deal would be a win-win situation for both the companies. However, these kinds of deals generally happen in stages and take years to complete. But once this deal is struck, there is no looking back for Intel.
The stock's opportunity
I believe the current level of the stock's price presents an attractive opportunity, as the company has a huge potential to capitalize on the flourishing mobile market. It would be really interesting to see how well Intel executes its strategies to replicate its supremacy in the mobile market. I see more optimism in the second half of 2013, with very few headwinds in the near term.
Additionally, the stock also has an upside potential with the company's buy back plans. Intel has a tendency to buy back shares, when the stock is trading at a low point. This has always helped the company to push back its stock prices in the past.
Lastly, the icing on the cake is its decent forward dividend yield of 4.10%, which still makes it a favorite among the income investors. For me, this stock is a buy in the long-term race.