Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) has shown off some pretty interesting innovations at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. In fact, some of them are so interesting that some are comparing the company to the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) of the past. Now I’m sure some of you are asking yourselves, “Has Hell frozen over?” In some parts of the U.S., it certainly feels like it! But I assure you, these innovations are all real.
Intel borrows Iron Man name
Forbes contributor Charles Sizemore particularly likes Jarvis, a Bluetooth earpiece named after the digital personal assistant created by Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies. It works similar to how Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Siri assistant works, however, it works better and is more proactive than Siri. In fact, he says it will actually make suggestions which are unsolicited, like bugging men to call their wives.
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Some of the other little gadgets and gizmos shown off by Intel at CES 2014 include a “smart onesie,” which enables parents to monitor the vital signs of their babies, and a “smart bowl,” which can charge phones and other gadgets wirelessly.
Intel heading for Apple-like success?
Sizemore readily admits that none of these gadgets alone are going to be enough to create for Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) the same level of success Apple found with the iPod, iPhone and iPad. However, he thinks these are just heralds of what Intel may be able to offer in the future. The company wants to make all things “smart” by connecting them to the Internet.
For example, according to Sizemore, the “smart onesie” mentioned above could realize that your baby is hungry and send a signal to the bottle warmer to start warming up that bottle in the middle of the night. I’m not really sure how this application he gives would work since both breast milk and pre-mixed formula have to be refrigerated and can’t sit out on the counter waiting for a signal from the smart onesie. But you get the idea.
Unfortunately in this application, it provides what I see as yet another way for parents to disengage from their children, and at an even younger age than the digital world enables us to do now. It eliminates the bonding which occurs as parents learn what their babies need and when they need it. However, this gadget could be quite useful for those days when you just don’t know why the baby is crying—particularly first-time parents who haven’t been put through their paces yet and are having trouble learning and connecting, or a terrified aunt or uncle who’s never been alone with a baby before. It can also have numerous healthcare applications.
Intel brings Edison to market
The main component by which Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) makes things smart is through its Edison computer. Although the device is rather small, it has both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. It can used almost anywhere for numerous applications. For example, it could get the coffee brewing when your alarm goes off. Your car could start itself when there’s some kind of sign that you’re getting ready to leave.
Sizemore notes that Edison could be the key to Intel’s success because it has the ability to truly create a new market, just like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) did with its successful products. However, it is still very early in the smart or connected device game, so we don’t know which company will become the dominant player here.
He also considers what Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s newest inventions could mean for the company’s stock. He calls them “embedded call options.” He said if they don’t turn out to be successes, then the options expire as worthless and Intel’s value remains in its core server chip and PC businesses. However, if the company does successfully spark a new market, then he predicts that Intel could be the next Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
He admits that there’s plenty of risk here, although he doesn’t think the market is pricing in Intel’s new smart devices yet. This would suggest that perhaps the risk isn’t as high as investors might think at the current levels.