Updated from 9:59 a.m. to include thoughts from RBC analyst.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Intel (INTC) reports first-quarter earnings after the bell on Tuesday and eyes will be on CEO Brian Krzanich and whether the company's famously high gross margins can remain lofty in the face of an increasingly mobile world.
Intel, the world's largest semiconductor company, has struggled as the world becomes increasingly reliant on mobile devices, many of them using intellectual property from ARM Holdings (ARMH). Companies such as Qualcomm (QCOM), Broadcom (BRCM) and others license ARM's IP, and then build chipsets based off a variety of instructions and needs for smartphone and tablet manufacturers.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel is starting to get into this business, continuing to grow its foundry business, a unit at which it makes chips for other companies, albeit at lower gross margins than Intel is accustomed to seeing. There has been plenty of speculation Intel will try to win (and potentially get) Apple's (AAPL) chipset business, but that remains to be seen for now.
Though Intel has been late to the mobile game, Krzanich, who replaced former CEO Paul Otellini last year, is working hard to make sure Intel doesn't miss the next big trend in computing. Intel recently acquired BASIS Science for a reported $100 million, as smartwatches and the Internet of Things (IoT) trend continues to play out.
"No smartwatch device solves anything for people in any good way," Intel's general manager of new devices, Mike Bell, said in a March 26 interview. "Over time, in the next couple of years, we're going to see more use cases. The capabilities in the BASIS product will make it better, but I do think that biometrics are important on a going forward basis for watches or whatever."
Bell noted that the BASIS team, which will report directly to him, has "incredible experience building health and wellness products," something that's very important for the wearables space right now. "The BASIS guys have done something useful -- take data and make recommendations or set goals. I believe as we try to turn hype into reality, health and fitness is the reality."