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Where Intel’s Research Efforts May Head in 2018


Mar. 15 2018, Updated 2:01 p.m. ET

Intel’s 5G focus

For quite some time, 5G has been a major focus, regarded as the technology that will connect the future world. We witnessed a live 5G demonstration by Intel at Mobile World Congress 2018. Whereas Qualcomm (QCOM) is seen as the leader in 5G when it comes to baseband and communication technology, Intel (INTC) is following fast and may be up to grab significant market share in the 5G space.

Intel will be focusing on 5G along with other data-centric technologies such as the IoT (Internet of Things), AI (artificial intelligence), self-driving cars, and memory. It is doing everything in its might to become the technology company of the future, including higher capital spending, acquisitions, and R&D (research and development) spending. All this is a part of its multiyear transformation to become a data-centric company that sits at the core of the connected world.

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Intel’s research efforts in 2018

During Intel’s fiscal 4Q17 earnings call, CEO Brian Krzanich stated that, in 2018, Intel would be focusing its research efforts on boosting performance in the PC (personal computer) market, integrating its 3D XPoint memory architecture into various applications, leading the way to 5G deployment, expanding in the AI market, and making autonomous cars a reality.

Its complementary products, such as memory chips and FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays), would support its core PC, AI, IoT, and automotive products. The company is also working on using edge computing to make cities smarter and helping China (FXI) develop its semiconductor industry. The company has reportedly collaborated with Chinese companies on various fronts, including memory, process nodes, and 5G.

Intel versus Qualcomm

Intel’s growth strategy sound similar to Qualcomm’s. While Intel is competing with Qualcomm in the baseband market, Qualcomm is competing with Intel in the PC, server, and autonomous driving markets. In 2017, Qualcomm introduced its ARM-based Centriq 2400 server chipset and launched an ARM-based PC processor powered by Microsoft (MSFT) Windows 10. It is set to complete the acquisition of NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) in early 2018 and become a leader in the automotive chipset market. In this series, we’ll look at Intel’s efforts in future technologies and understand how it is funding these innovations.


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