The company is betting that new chips due to ship next year will invigorate its mobile business, which has struggled to get off the ground amid explosive sales of Apple's
Stock in the world's largest maker of microprocessors rose 1.4 percent at midday in a mostly flat market.
The consumer (tablet) products will roll out over the first half of next year, CEO Paul Otellini told analysts at a conference. He added that the tablets would run on Google's Android operating system as well as Microsoft
He also said Intel recently resumed share buybacks after pausing a year and a half ago due to concerns about the economy.
I'm happy to report that Intel has been back in the market this quarter, Otellini said. The buyback has resumed.
In November, Intel said it was boosting its quarterly dividend by 15 percent, a move seen as a sign of confidence that the world's largest chipmaker is growing, even as the U.S. economy remains sluggish.
A resumption of Intel's share repurchases amplifies that signal, said Craig Ellis, an analyst at Caris and Company. Shareholders will look at that and say management is putting their money where their mouth is, he said.
Intel authorized $5.7 billion for stock repurchases at the beginning of the year. Otellini did not say how many shares Intel has recently bought.
MARATHON, NOT SPRINT
Intel has had few big successes with processors in the fast-growing smartphone and tablet niches, with power-efficient chips based on ARM
Otellini called Intel's pursuit of the smartphone market a marathon, not a sprint, adding that the company's second-generation Medfield chip is now being sampled by customers and should ship next year and in 2012.
You will see smartphones from premier branded vendors in the second half of 2011 with Intel silicon inside them, Otellini said.
Intel has already started shipping its new Sandy Bridge chips, which are expected to be in notebooks on store shares early in 2011.
The Sandy Bridge microchips, Intel's newest PC chips, include graphics processing capability that the company says is equivalent to low-end discrete graphics processors.
Intel would like Sandy Bridge to make some discrete graphics chips unnecessary, but graphics chip designer Nvidia Corp
(Reporting by Noel Randewich; editing by Andre Grenon and Derek Caney)