Starting this weekend, Intel will take its consumer tech efforts to the streets.
The company will open up the first of three temporary retail stores on Nov. 23 in the Nolita neighborhood in New York City. Two other Intel Experience Stores will open after that—in Lincoln Park in Chicago on Nov. 25 and Venice, Calif., on Nov. 26—and all three stores will stay open through the holiday season before shutting down in late January.
The stores come at a time when Intel is trying to shore up the sagging global PC market while looking to make inroads into the booming mobile device space, where chips designed by ARM and made by the likes of Qualcomm and Samsung are found in most smartphones and tablets. The chip-making giant is hoping to use a retail store model similar to Apple and Microsoft to fuel sales of devices—from notebooks and tablets to 2-in-1s (which can be used either as a notebook or a tablet) and all-in-one PCs.
Intel officials also want to make the stores a go-to place for anyone interested in talking about or trying out the technology. There will be Intel tech experts in each of the stores, customers will be able to test drive devices at home and consumers will be able to buy products online from the store.
The vendor also will have other ways of enticing people to come to the stores—from offering free coffee every day and free movies on Fridays to hosting local speakers and being a place where customers can recycle their old electronics.
In addition, the stores' displays will change three times a day, giving consumers something new to look at.
Intel chips can be found in more than 80 percent of PCs on the market, but the company is moving aggressively to gain traction in the mobile device space. CEO Brian Krzanich, after taking over the position in May, has made that mobile push a priority after lamenting prior missed opportunities.
"Intel was slow to respond to the ultramobile trend," Krzanich said July 17 when talking with analysts and journalists about quarterly financial numbers.
Both the low-power Atom platform—with its new "Silvermont" microarchitecture—and the Core "Haswell" chips will play crucial roles in driving adoption of Intel-based mobile devices, the CEO has said.