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CES: Intel, Qualcomm Go Head-to-Head

More than a dozen designs are in development based on the new 7-watt Haswell technology, according to Kirk Skaugen, general manager of Intel's PC client group. Skaugen also demoed the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S Ultrabook and a forthcoming Ultrabook with a detachable screen from Acer during his presentation. The devices will be among the first to offer the low-power Haswell Core when they launch during the spring, he said.

Nomura's Shah says the 7-watt processor can bring desktop-style performance typically associated with Intel's Core processors to tablet notebooks.

The next generation of Intel's Haswell processor is expected to debut in 2013, with Skaugen noting that this provides "true all-day battery life." To emphasize his point, the Intel executive held up a prototype convertible Ultrabook/tablet which offers up to 13 hours of battery life.

Intel has thrown its weight behind Ultrabooks in an attempt to offset pressure in the PC market. Skaugen said nearly 140 Ultrabook designs based on its chip technology are shipping today.

Clearly, Ultrabooks are critical for Intel, and could drive profits, according to Lazard Capital Markets, which upgraded the chipmaker from "neutral" to "buy" on Monday. The impact of Ultrabooks was a key factor in the upgrade, with Lazard Capital Markets predicting improving demand.

Prior to CES, there had been rumors that Intel could make a major set-top box announcement in Las Vegas, although this failed to materialize.

Instead, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based firm announced a collaboration with Comcast (CMCSA - Get Report) to bring its XFINITY TV to Ultrabooks and Intel-based PCs and tablets. A video gateway developed by Arris (ARRS - Get Report) containing Intel cable modem technology will be used to deliver XFINITY TV across multiple screens in the home.

The silicon giant also discussed its efforts in the smartphone market, an area where it's perceived as a laggard. On Monday, Intel announced a new low-power Atom processor and smartphone reference design, aimed at the lower end of the phone market.

Intel shares crept up 0.1% to $21.28 on Tuesday, while Qualcomm shares slipped 0.3% to $63.83.

Get the latest news coming out of CES with TheStreet's live blog:

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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