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5/27/2008
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Intel Sets Date for Centrino 2 Mobile Platform Launch

The platform will ship in July with some chipsets, with the complete line of chipsets and wireless chips available in high volume in the first week of August.

Intel on Tuesday said it would launch its next-generation Centrino 2 mobile platform July 14 and at the same time begin initial shipments of some of its supporting chipsets.

Centrino 2, which is expected to offer faster performance and longer battery life than previous mobile products, is the first platform to offer an integrated Wi-Fi and WiMax wireless access option, Intel said. In addition, the processor and other components are about 40% smaller, making them an option for mini- and sub-notebooks.

On the graphics side, the platform offers native hardware support for high-definition entertainment from DVDs in the Blu-ray format.

In an e-mail, an Intel spokesman said there had been a "ton of speculation about our Centrino 2 platform launch date."

In putting the matter to rest, Intel said it would launch the Centrino 2 platform July 14 by introducing Core and Extreme mobile processors. The latter would be high-end processors more suitable for gaming.

The platform would initially ship with some chipsets, with the complete line of chipsets and wireless chips available in high volume in the first week of August, the spokesman said. "We're doing our best to make sure we meet the critical back-to-school buying time and also have a high state of readiness of all of our products to best meet demand."

The Centrino 2 platform will be built using Intel's new manufacturing process that shrinks the size of transistors on a chip to 45 nanometers, thereby increasing the number of the components on each processor. With more transistors than Intel's previous 65-nm chips, the newest processors are able to deliver more processing power at the same level of energy consumption.

Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices is also readying a new notebook platform. The company is scheduled to make an announcement next week.

Notebook sales are the key drivers behind the PC market. In 2009, shipments are expected to surpass desktop sales for the first time. This year, shipments are expected to reach 136 million units, up 25.8% from 2007, according to analyst Alex Yang of Lehman Brothers. By contrast, desktop shipments will decline about 1.3% from 2007 to reach 143 million units.

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