RealTime IT News

Centrino Gets Boost in Korea

Intel Tuesday said it has inked a deal that will put some 10,000 of its mobile processors in one of the most connected places in the world.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip making giant said Allianz Life Korea is purchasing some 3,000 notebooks running its Centrino brand of chipsets by February and an additional 7,000 systems by the end of 2004.

The life insurance company said its sales agents will use the notebooks to stay connected in the field and access the company's financial programs and databases for their 1.5 million customers. The company supports four regional sales offices, 42 branch offices, 511 sub-branch offices and nine Professional Advisor branches.

"We are building our new mobile environment with Intel Centrino mobile technology as the foundation for enhanced service and competitiveness," Bertrand d'Origny, executive director of IT for Allianz Life Korea said in a statement. The company did not say if it had chosen a company-wide service provider.

Introduced in March 2003, the Centrino chipset centers on 802.11 wireless network capability and is built around three components: the Intel 855 Chipset Family, the Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 Network Connection and the Intel Pentium M processor.

On the adoption side, Intel has been pleased with Centrino's progress. Currently, there are 58 different models of Centrino shipping compared to the 34 versions when the heralded chipset first came out. The company said it is seeing vendors put its chipsets in systems ranging from tablet PCs to thin-and-light designs with large screens to ultra-mobile systems that weigh less than three pounds. In some cases, Intel said, these mobile systems can run on five hours of battery life on a single charge.

The company has verified the compatibility of Intel Centrino mobile technology with more than 14,000 hotspots worldwide, which is more than the 10,000 it had originally estimated.

And if ever there were a country that is connected to the Internet, it would be Korea. The mobile market in South Korea is finally reaching a point of saturation, with approximately 75 percent of the population carrying at least one mobile phone by mid-2003, according to a November 2003 report by Paul Budde Communications. The number of mobile subscribers in the Republic of Korea reached over 32 million as of December 2002, but this figure slipped to 31.7 million by mid-2003.

Intel is also looking to capitalize on the Wi-Fi craze in the country with a new R&D center in Korea. As previously reported, the center is the result of CEO Craig Barrett's visit to the country in August 2003.

"Companies increasingly see mobility as a key element for increased productivity and efficiency in highly competitive environments," said M.C. Kim, Intel Korea's country manager. "Intel Centrino mobile technology provides the performance and cost efficiency for companies to build an optimal mobile environment."