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Intel Bows Centrino Mobile Processor

3/12/2003 03:09:00 PM Eastern

New York - Seeking to `unwire' the notebook computer from clumsy cables and power supplies, Intel introduced its Centrino mobile technology in New York on Wednesday.

It incorporates a new mobile processor, related chipsets and 802.11 wireless network functions for wireless Internet connectivity.

The chips will revolutionize how consumers and business clients access the Internet, and marks a "tipping point" in the evolution of wireless technology, said Intel CEO Craig Barrett.

"This is the most tangible example of the convergence of the computer and communications," Barrett said.

The Centrino brand refers not just to a single processor, but marks the first time Intel has branded an entire suite of technology: the Intel Pentium M processor, the Intel 855 chipset family and the Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 Network Connection. 

Intel's branding efforts will extend beyond the technology to verifying WiFi hotspots that have been tested to work in harmony with the Centrino technology. Currently, Intel has verified between 3-4 thousand such hotspots, and expects to have a total of ten thousand under its belt by the end of the year.

The verifying effort will be accompanied with investment by Intel in four WiFi companies to expand the use of and create new capabilities for high-speed wireless networks.

"We have a three point strategy," said Anand Chandrasekhar, VP/general manager of Intel's Mobile Platforms Group. "We want to accelerate, verify and increase consumer awareness of WiFi hotspots."

The new Centrino processor will bring a host of benefits to mobile computers, including improved performance, longer battery life, smaller form factors and, most importantly, wireless connectivity, said Chandrasekhar.

Complimenting the launch was a host of hardware OEM's that announced laptops that will feature the Centrino technology, among them Dell, which introduced three notebooks, IBM, which also announced three notebooks, and Toshiba, which bowed four.

These notebooks will have suggested retails as low as $1,399, said Chandrasekhar.