If you set foot in Intel's CES booth thiswinter, you probably sensed a theme: the company is deeply, almost manically,focused on the Internet of Things. Sure, Chipzilla was showing off some tabletsand phones, along with a shelf full of Ultrabooks, but the highlights of theshow were all a little more unusual. Think: a light-up "smart mug,"headphones that can monitor your heart rate. An internet-connected baby onesie,for crying out loud. It was obvious the company was a bit obsessed, and nowit's clear why: the Internet of Things is currently the most promising piece ofIntel's business.
Take the company's first-quarter earnings,for example, which just came out today. Intel's revenue from PCs, normally itsbiggest money maker, dipped 1 percent. At best, you could say the computerbusiness is flat but really, "decline" is the more accurate word --the PC industry faced its steepest-ever drop last year. Meanwhile, revenue formobile products (read: phone and tablet chips) plummeted 61 percent. Yikes.
But the Internet of Things -- now that's abright spot. Sales there were up 32 percent from the year-earlier period. Weknow, we know: that's partly because the Internet of Things simply wasn't, uh,a thing last year. But the numbers do suggest that where there's demand forsome sort of "smart" object, Intel has a strong chance of getting oneof its chips inside. That's good news for Intel, but maybe not good enough:even with a booming smart coffee-mug market, connected objects still accountedfor just 3.8 percent of Intel's overall sales last quarter. How long will ittake smart baby onesies to catch up before Intel doesn't have to use PCs as acrutch? And what's the deal with that tanking mobile business, anyway? We'lllet you chew on that while we wait for Intel to host a conference call. We'llupdate this post if we glean any new details.