Intel Touts Touch, Talks Tablet Future

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Intel ( INTC) is driving a revolution in the way consumers interact with gadgets, according to Diane Bryant, the general manager of the chip giant's data center and services group, citing the rise of tablets and ultrabooks.

The executive, who delivered the keynote at the 2012 Citi Technology Conference on Tuesday, explained how Intel is throwing its weight behind tablets and ultrabooks with touchscreen capabilities.

"We have invited the whole industry to rethink the role of the PC," she said, pointing, in particular, to ultrabooks.

Ultrabooks are the new category of super-skinny laptops championed by Intel. Bryant explained that the next wave of products will also offer touchscreen capabilities. "There's over 40 touch ultrabooks in development that you will see coming," she said. "We believe that the touch interface will become more popular than even our OEMs predict."

OEMs, or Original Equipment Manufacturers, that develop Intel-based ultrabooks include HP ( HPQ) and Dell ( INTC).

Bryant also expects the debut of Microsoft's ( MSFT) Windows 8 operating system to have a major impact on the space. "We expect a dramatic increase in the move of ultrabooks, from the traditional clamshell, to touch, with the launch of Windows 8," she said.

Microsoft, which had initially said that Windows 8 will be available sometime in October, recently confirmed that the operating system will be available Oct. 26.

In addition to ultrabooks, Intel's Bryant also promised a tablet onslaught fuelled by the new Microsoft OS.

"We have over 20 designs in process coming up for the launch of Windows 8," she said. "With an Intel-based tablet you're able to integrate seamlessly into the enterprise."

The executive also briefly discussed the advent of "convertible" devices, which can change from a traditional clamshell to a tablet, and promised further innovation in the areas of voice and facial recognition.

Bryant, who spoke about Intel's plans to tap the cloud with TheStreet earlier this year, also reiterated the Dow component's desire to double its data center revenue to $20 billion between 2011 and 2015.

"The cloud market is growing dramatically - there's tremendous growth in places like China," she said, pointing to the rise of Internet giants Tencent and Baidu ( BIDU). Big data, she added, is also driving demand for storage and networking gear, in addition to servers.

Rory Read, the CEO of Intel's rival AMD ( AMD), also spoke at the Citi Technology Conference on Tuesday. Like Bryant, he took the opportunity to beat the tablet drum.

"Tablets in the Windows space are just beginning - Windows 8 is just the first step," he said, pointing to future launches of Windows 9 and Windows 10. "The focus on low power will work well for AMD."

Read, however, acknowledged the potential for tablets to cannibalize PCs. "Tablets are definitely a factor, particularly in the consumer segment - there's no doubt that they compete for dollars on the entry level," he said. "In the next year or two, I think, for sure, we will see tablets settle."

AMD shares slipped 1.88% to $3.65 on Tuesday. Intel was down 1.45% to $24.47.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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