Intel CFO: We Will Reinvent PCs

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Intel ( INTC), which provides low-power chips for a new breed of skinny laptops called ultrabooks, said it's reinventing the PC market, according to the chipmaker's CFO, Stacy Smith.

Speaking at the Citi Technology Conference in New York City, Smith pointed to previous Intel milestones such as adding multimedia capabilities to PCs in the 1990s and the launch of its Centrino chip, which enabled longer battery life and thinner laptops. "We will re-invent the PC one more time," Smith said. "We will make the ultrabook form factor very sexy."

Smith explained that ultrabooks, expected to debut in time for the holiday buying season, are thinner and lighter than existing notebooks, and also offer long battery life. Ultrabooks will also feature "instant on," "always connected," location-based services and touchscreen capabilities.

"We will also have the ability to have a flipscreen," he said. "That's not going to happen in 2011, but over time -- that's how we're going to evolve the platform."

Intel outlined its plans to build low-power chips for ultrabooks at the Computex show in Taiwan earlier this year, predicting that the devices will account for 40% of the consumer laptop market by the end of 2012. Ultrabooks, a cross between notebooks and tablet devices, will measure less than 20 millimeters thick.

Intel, however, has been down this road before. CEO Paul Otellini cited super-skinny laptops running low-power chips as a key trend more than 2 years ago, but the high production costs and thus high price tags hindered mass adoption of the technology. Today Intel says an ultrabook will be priced below $1,000.

Smith reiterated this message Wednesday. "We think that that will really re-energize the notebook marketplace," he added.

The Intel CFO also predicted that two-thirds of the PC market's future growth will come from emerging markets. Falling PC prices and higher incomes in countries such as China are fueling demand for technology, he explained, noting that a computer cost more than 30 weeks of the average Chinese worker's income in 2005, compared to around 7 weeks worth of income in 2010.

"Now that it's less than a couple of months of income for someone to afford a computer, there's rapid uptake," he said. "We're already seeing rapid increases in penetration rates across these markets."

Intel shares were rising modestly in Wednesday morning trading, up 2.36% to $20.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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