The annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2014) has just begun and the volume of news coming out of Las Vegas is massive. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, scheduled to deliver a CES keynote Monday evening, was expected to spend much of his time touting the company's push into mobile devices, including wearables.
Intel was remaining quiet Monday afternoon but Krzanich said in an interview last week that the company would be showing a variety of wearable devices at CES, all coming from Intel's New Devices division, led by former Apple and Palm executive Mike Bell.
A Push For Mobile
Wearable devices will be an important topic at CES this week but it is not the only category that Intel is hoping to dominate. In addition, the chip manufacturer is following the overall market in its move away from laptops and desktops and toward mobile phones and tablets. These mobile devices were rarely powered by Intel in 2013, but Krzanich is looking to change that in 2014.
Even though Intel has already worked with Motorola, Lenovo, and Acer to produce phones with an Intel chip at their core, none of those devices made their way to the United States. Although non-U.S. markets are equally important, the lack of Intel phones in the U.S. shows that the company has a lot of work to do before it can compete with the likes of Qualcomm and with a bevy of chipmakers like Samsung and Nvidia that manufacture ARM-based processors.
"How ever the market moves, wherever the compute need is, we want our products to do it best," said Krzanich, speaking with investors and analysts about future plans. And, with regard to performance over the past few years, Krzanich said, "We'd become insular. We'd become focused on what was our best product rather than where the market was moving."
Wearables: The Next Frontier
Wearable devices made an appearance during CES 2013 but in the 12 months following last year's event, only a couple of companies brought a smart watch to the market. Google has been working on its own style of wearable tech with Google Glass, but the overall market is still focused on smart watches, which are likely to be in the spotlight during CES 2014.
The range of opportunities for wearable technology "is wide open," Krzanich told tech news site re/code last week. "What you will see at CES is that we are actually going to bring some very innovative wearables to the show that are developed and manufactured here [in the U.S.]."
Although Intel's CEO is correct in saying that the market for wearables is still open, a number of companies are seeking to produce devices, all of which will need to be powered by a processor. Intel's job during CES and the months ahead will be to convince these technology companies that using Intel's processors is the best option.
The devices that will be on display during Krzanich's CES keynote will likely be powered by the manufacturer's low-power Quark processors. Some tech companies, however, including Samsung and Pebble, have already decided on other processors for their wearable devices.