Intel Dubs Wireless Chipset ‘Centrino’

In preparation for the release of its first mobile computing brand, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel announced this week that it has re-named its Banias mobile technology to Centrino.

Banias was formerly the code name for the processor component in Intel’s new wireless platform and was named after the river in Israel where the processor was first designed.

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.

The new Centrino lineup, designed initially for thin notebook computers, is slated for release in mid-2003 and will include a microprocessor, chipsets, 802.11 wireless networking capability, and extended battery life, the company said.

The Centrino will eventually power all types of notebooks, the company said, including 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,” that mobile computing technology affords its users.

The Centrino is expected to compete directly with Advanced Micro Devices’ Athlon chipset.

An Intel spokesperson could not yet confirm what speeds the Centrino will debut at, but market analysts reported in the Fall of 2002 that 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 the Pentium 4 and will consume dramatically less energy. The Centrino will also include a 1MB secondary cache that is twice as big as the cache found on the Pentium 4.

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