Intel’s Centrino to Debut March 12

Intel Thursday said it plans on launching its long awaited Centrino mobile chip in notebooks starting March 12.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said the processor (formerly known as Banias) and its corresponding chipsets will feature speeds of up to 1.6 GHz and embedded 802.11b technology — also known as Wi-Fi .

The company estimates notebooks with its new chips would cost from $1,250 to about $3,000.

The Centrino marks the first time Intel has gone to market with a component package under one brand name. Previously, the company has only used processor brand names like Pentium for its products.

Intel’s new wireless product line would start at 1.4GHz, 1.5GHz and 1.6GHz speeds, slower than its Pentium 4, which can reach maximum speeds of 2.2GHz.

However, according to the Intel spokesperson, the Centrino is more power efficient than its Pentium 4 and will consume less energy. In some cases, Intel is suggesting laptop users could squeeze out an extra hour of battery life even with network connections.

The new mobile chip will also include a 1MB secondary cache that is twice as big as the cache found on the Pentium 4.

The No. 1 chipmaker gave a short preview of Centrino’s capabilities to reporters Thursday during a demonstration of Boeing’s new Connexion Internet service some 35,000 feet in the air.

Eventually, Intel says the Centrino will power all types of mobile devices including notebooks and tablet PCs.

The Centrino lineup will also carry a newly designed Intel logo that the company says symbolically represents the “flight, mobility, and forward movement,” of mobile technology.

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