Intel bullish after garnering 35 tablet design wins

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Intel CEO Paul Otellini announced Wednesday that his company has resumed stock buy-backs and won 35 agreements from manufacturers to put its chips into new tablet models, which are set to compete with Apple's iPad next year.

Otellini told analysts at a conference that the new tablets will come from brands including Dell, Asus, Lenovo and Toshiba, and "roll out over the first half of next year," Reuters reports. In addition to tablets, "premier branded" smartphones powered by Intel's chips will arrive in the "second half of 2011," said Otellini.

Intel has struggled in the mobile space as its Atom mobile processor has failed to gain traction among new tablet and smartphone designs. In October, Otellini told employees that Intel was running a come-from-behind "marathon" in the mobile architecture contest.

Though Apple has taken an early lead in the tablet and smartphone markets using ARM-licensed chip processors, Otellini remains confident that "ultimately, [Intel] can and will lead."

Analysts see Intel's upcoming product news as positive, though they are also taking a wait-and-see approach. "Intel is moving in the right strategic direction but they still have a long way to go," said Gabelli & Company analyst Hendi Susanto. "They're late into the game. There is no clear visibility on what the products look like."

With Intel's growth into the mobile space solidifying for next year, the company is increasingly optimistic. "I'm happy to report that Intel has been back in the market this quarter," Otellini said. "The buy-back has resumed."

In August, Intel stock tumbled after the company lowered its third-quarter revenue forecast, citing "weaker than expected sales of consumer PCs in mature markets." The actual third-quarter results, released in October, were a record quarter for the world's largest chipmaker, but Otellini also warned that the iPad may be cutting into PC sales.

Wednesday's news that Intel is repurchasing shares of its stock, coupled with the company raising of its dividend by 15 percent in November, should bolster investor confidence in the company. "Shareholders will look at that and say management is putting their money where their mouth is," said analyst Craig Ellis.

Intel's stock was up 1.11 percent at the close of the market on Wednesday.