Intel Launches New Centrino, UltraMobile PC Platforms

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The "Santa Rosa" Centrino platform, based on a new Core 2 Duo processor and Intel Turbo Memory, will ship in May and is slated to be upgraded with "Penryn" processors, based on the company's 45-nanometer process technology, in the first half of 2008, Intel said at IDF.

Also next year, Intel plans to deliver a major Centrino platform upgrade based on its 45nm dual-core processor, code-named Montevina, which will have optional integrated Wi-Fi and WiMAX support for broadband wireless access.

At IDF, Intel also unveiled its UltraMobile PC platform, code-named McCaslin, and Mobile Internet Device platform based on its A100 and A110 UMPC processors, Windows Vista and Microsoft's Origami design. The Santa Clara, Calif., chip giant said the first systems based on it will be available in the summer.

In late 2008, Intel also plans to release an upgrade to the UMPC platform, code-named Menlow, and an associated chipset solution, code-named Poulsbo, that will ship on a single piece of silicon. The next-generation UMPC platform will feature a new 45nm processor, code-named Silverthorne.

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In addition, Intel said at IDF that it will pursue Linux as an operating system option for mobile Internet devices and, to that end, has struck deals with Ubuntu creator Canonical and China's Red Flag Linux distribution.

System builders are particularly interested in Intel's Centrino and UMPC plans because the mobile PC market -- where the channel has not had much success -- is the fastest-growing PC segment.

To help system builder partners better compete in the mobile space, Intel is refining its Verified By Intel program. It plans to offer a VBI implementation for Santa Rosa and is preparing to launch Centrino Pro, a version of its vPro managed services platform for Centrino.

At last month's Intel Solutions Summit, Intel channel executives told CRN they're already working to establish standard components and motherboard designs for UMPCs so system builders can be more successful in this space than they have been in the notebook market.

"Centrino is a very important part of the product offerings for system builders, since demand for notebooks is very strong," said James Huang, director of marketing at AMAX Information Group, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder and contract manufacturer. "We sell several hundred Centrino notebooks each month to corporate, education and government customers. Santa Rosa is the update to the Napa platform and will be released in Q2."