Intel - Going In Search Of Amazing Internet 'Things'

Oct.10.13 | About: Intel Corporation (INTC)

Famed musical parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic once penned a tune called "It's All About the Pentiums" which focused on the glamorous world of the cyber-geek, who sleeps on sheets made of spreadsheets and calls Bill Gates for tech support.

Normal fans were amused by the composition, but fans of all things high-tech used it as an anthem, and now had a reason to be proud of lightning-fast processors and the ability to stay ahead of the rapidly changing hardware and software curves.

These days, it's still about the Pentiums, or at least about their creator, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC).

As interest in desktops computing wanes, Intel and most chip makers are generally going for smaller and faster chips to accommodate mobile devices, or at least the equipment to power the networks to get more people connected.

Intel is trying other innovative methods as well to stay ahead of the pack, no matter which 'thing' proves most profitable.

Earlier this month, company executives began discussing, coincidentally, a new philosophy called "The Internet of Things."

PC World describes this thinking as a "galaxy of embedded sensors" that report information to a central point.

It can be visualized at like an old-school computer network with one central hub and lots of PCs radiating from it.

But in the new chip world, the "thing" can be as small as a collection of tiny devices that regularly relay data to a main processor. The example was used of a system of air conditioners, where each one includes a mini-computer with its own chip. Each one is always running its own independent program, but can also share its condition, efficiency, and other details.

Intel is getting pieces in place for this new push, as both the chip supplier or the strategic partner for other companies, and for the tools to measure the sensors - the Internet middleman.

It recently came out with the Atom, its smallest and lowest-powered chip but it can also withstand high temperatures.

The Atom can power the Quark, a small-scale processor, expected to be available by spring 2014.

Reuters reports that the smaller, faster hardware plus multiple smaller computing devices can have great possibilities for everything from medical equipment to car systems, from household appliances to manufacturing operations.

Intel continues its interest in 'wearables,' devices that are attached to a person that also perform functions and report to a central source, like a pedometer that keeps track of the rate of your morning walk and syncs this data to a fitness program, or what Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is doing with its interactive Glass effort.

Intel recently invested in Basis Science, a company that makes a fitness tracker called the Basis Band. The band worn on the wrist collects health data from the wearer, such as their body temperature, pulse, and amount of perspiration on the skin, and offers you more health analytics than you can shake a leg at. It can be helpful for fitness fanatics who want to track their progress, coaches, or maybe even physicians, since the tool can be used in any settings, not just the jogging/healthy lifestyle set. A doctor can use it to monitor how much a person moves during the day and their overall heart rate.

These futuristic plans are definitely grandiose in nature and speak to CEO Brian Krzanich's vision that Intel must retain its core focus on building better, faster processors.

Are investors aboard? They seem to be, though not completely.

Yahoo! Finance indicates that shares were around $22.59 as of Wednesday, a slight increase from earlier in the week, and a 15 percent growth in share prices for the year.

Prices have been around $23 for most of October, and never quite touched $24 in September, unlike the peaks above $25 earlier this summer.

Actually, the current price isn't as great as its performance, said The Street, which praised Intel for "leading the way" Wednesday with a 2 cent gain , and 21.1 million shares traded, compared to an average volume of 36.6 million.

Intel's nice bump, which it earned it an enthusiastic "buy," was also credited with buoying the whole market for the day by .15 points, and directly contributing .06 to it.

Though there still is some weakness shown for earnings per share, the outlook is definitely positive - and that's what it's all about.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.