Intel's Haswell Chip for Notebooks, Tablets Launching in June

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2013-04-26

Intel's Haswell Chip for Notebooks, Tablets Launching in June

Intel's much-talked-about Core "Haswell" processors will debut at the Comdex 2013 show in Taiwan in June.

According to a short blog post April 26 on the Intel Website, the next-generation chips—which company officials have said will feature significantly improved energy efficiency and greater graphics capabilities than current Intel chips—will be unveiled June 3, when the show kicks off.

"In approximately 3,337,200,000,000,000 nanoseconds, Intel will reveal all there is to know about the highly anticipated 4th-generation Intel Core processor family," the company said in the blog post. "The new family of processors will surpass old technology expectations and usher in a host of striking new designs with incredible performance and extraordinarily long battery life."

Intel has been driving down the power consumption as it looks to expand its reach beyond traditional PCs and into devices like tablets, hybrids and convertibles, systems that are rapidly growing in popularity. Company officials have boasted that the 22-nanometer Haswell systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) will offer the greatest leap in power efficiency from one generation to another.

During an April 16 conference call with analysts and journalists to talk about the company's first-quarter financial numbers, outgoing CEO Paul Otellini and Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith said that with Haswell, systems makers and end users will see improvements in overall performance (by as much as 10 percent), graphics capabilities (by up to 50 percent) and power efficiency. OEMs will embrace the quad-core SoCs as they develop a range of new form factors, which will help boost revenue for Intel's PC Client Group, which saw sales fall by 6 percent in the first quarter, to $8 billion, according to Smith.

"We believe the combination of an improving macroeconomic environment, Haswell coming to the market, ultramobile form factors like Ultrabooks, convertibles and tablets, and touch-enabled devices leads to a return to growth in the second half of the year," he said.

Intel and other tech vendors—including Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Advanced Micro Devices—have seen their financial numbers battered by the continued shrinking of the global PC market as consumers and business users have focused their attention and tech dollars on such devices as smartphones and tablets. The bulk of those products are powered by chips designed by ARM and sold by Samsung, Qualcomm and others.

Intel has been aggressive in driving down the power consumption of their x86 chips—in both the Core and Atom platforms—to gain a foothold in the mobile device space. Along with Haswell, Intel later this year will launch the "Bay Trail" Atom chips. Intel will have chips for every mobile device, from smartphones to notebooks. It also will enable lower-cost systems in designs as thin as 10mm.


Intel’s Haswell Chip for Notebooks, Tablets Launching in June

The Intel chips combined with Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system will help drive many of these new form factors, according to Otellini.

"[When] OEMs start looking at new form factors that they can design around our new chips—Haswell in particular, and maybe Bay Trail—and Windows 8, enabling touch, the explosion in form factors and the competitiveness of that platform is going to be substantially different [from previous chip offerings], at price points down into the $300 to $400 range,” he said during the April 16 conference call.

Analysts have been disappointed in consumer adoption of Windows 8 since its release last year, but they are mixed about what the future holds for the operating system. Haswell will help drive down the cost of what Gartner analysts call “ultramobiles,” which should be a boost for both PC makers and Windows 8, according to Isabelle Durand, principal research analyst at Gartner.

“Touch-screen-based ultramobiles offer PC manufacturers an opportunity to recover market share from media tablets, but Windows 8 PCs with touch-screens accounted for only a small percentage of consumer PC shipments in the first quarter of 2013,” Durand said in a statement April 10, when the analyst firm announced that PC sales worldwide in the first quarter fell 11.2 percent over the same period in 2012. “The majority of consumers remain unwilling to pay the price premium for touch-screen capabilities on PCs at this stage. But, even so, touch-screens and Windows 8 will represent key opportunities for PC manufacturers in the second half of 2013."

Stephen Belanger, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said in a research note April 16 that Intel’s more energy-efficient processors—including Haswell, Bay Trail and the "Clover Trail+” Atom chips—will help the company better compete with ARM.

"However, sales of the next generation of Intel-powered PCs will be threatened by weak demand and uncertainty surrounding Windows 8 adoption," he added.


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