Intel kept this week’s Intel Developer Forum in Shenzhen a low-key affair, and unlike previous years, it chose not to bring the show to the world’s attention. Still, IDF did mark an important event for the chip maker. China is a place where Intel encourages small hardware shops to experiment with PC, mobile and now IoT ideas as well.
Trying different things
For the chip maker, IDF Shenzhen is an important event, so perhaps there was a strategic reason behind its secrecy. Products like its Atom chip have been the subject of questions, as the smartphone version of it is struggling and the server version hasn’t been updated since 2013.
Intel is trying to do something new though by presenting its technologies at events like the Grammy Awards, Fashion Week, the Superbowl, and the X-Games, where it revealed its wearable, server, and IoT technologies. Also to reach out to the community of enthusiasts and do-it-yourselfers, the chip maker came up with its own reality TV show called America’s Greatest Makers.
Small Chinese hardware companies have been loyal to Intel and have gained from its efforts to fund mobile device and PC development. In 2014, the chip making company planned to sell 40 million tablet chips through subsidies worldwide and this, in particular, aided the Chinese companies in innovating new devices and reducing tablet prices. With such a move, Intel was aiming to compete with ARM, which ruled the then-hot tablet market.
Intel roping in loyal Chinese firms
Intel sold 46 million tablet chips the same year but took billions of dollars in losses in its mobile division. Now it appears the U.S. firm wants its loyal Shenzhen-based hardware companies to consider building drones, sensor devices, robots, and other home and industrial automation products.
At the show, the chip making giant declared its “Makers Go Big” initiative, which according to the company, “aims to foster the next generation of Chinese inventors and entrepreneurs.” Intel will continue to invest in its Mass Makerspace Accelerator Program, which was made to fund and support makers in China.
At the event, the Robotics Development Kit for robotics and the Aero Platform for drones were also announced. Also key software tools for existing developer boards and SDKs were announced.
At 12:30 p.m. Eastern, Intel shares were up 0.16% at $31.84. Year to date, the stock is down by over 9%, while in the last year, it is down by over 3%.