Analyst: Sleek tablets threaten Intel PCs

A prominent industry analyst has issued a wary assessment of Intel’s (x86) PC prospects in a mobile world increasingly dominated by ARM-powered smartphones and tablets.

According to Nomura Securities analyst Romit Shah, Santa Clara’s earnings next year might sink as low as $2 per share as more people buy mobile devices equipped with processors from rival chip-makers.

The biggest trouble spot, Shah said in industry note obtained by the Associated Press, will likely be laptop computers, a product lineup Intel has attempted to reinvent or rebrand as the Ultrabook. 

Specifically, Shah expressed concern over the relatively high price point of Intel-powered laptops, noting that $800-$1,000 is “becoming an increasingly tough sell amid an array of sleek tablets selling for $200 to $700.”

As TG Daily previously reported, declining x86 chip demand from PC manufacturers recently prompted Intel to slash its third-quarter sales prediction.

Vijay Rakesh, an analyst at Sterne Agee, explained that the upcoming introduction of tablets running Windows 8 RT for ARM-based chips is creating “additional uncertainty” for manufacturers attempting to predict what types of new devices will catch on with consumers.

“Intel is saying demand is affected by OEMs reducing inventory (ahead of Win8), weaker PC demand and lower emerging market BRIC demand. Multiple challenges in the PC space [remain], with slower Ultrabooks, weaker OEM commentary and Win8 pricing affecting a more cautious OEM-ODM outlook,” said Rakesh.

“[I think] the [real] issue is, can we have x86- and ARM-based systems? That’s still a question mark. And then, what is the pricing of these systems versus the iPads and Kindles and other tablets that are out there?”