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Intel Corp. on Wednesday revealed the forthcoming brand structure for the future microprocessors and technologies. Apparently, after years of emphasizing importance of balanced computing platforms with certain features, Intel is coming back to pushing its central processing units and building its brand structure around microprocessors. But in addition, the company is also back with its not product-specific Intel brand.

“We have created a structure that leads with Intel. It seems simple, but we've lost some of this connection and we need to remind people who we are and what we make possible,” explained Bill Calder, a corporate communications manager at Intel.

Microprocessors: Good, Better and Best

For computing platforms, Intel is focusing its strategy around the Core brand. The chipmaker hopes that simplifying the processor lineup will help it to simplify the choice of central processing units (CPUs) and personal computers for end-users. Presently there are Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel Core 2 Quad and Intel Core i7 microprocessors, which confuses end-users in many ways. Going forward, there will be Core brand with different modifiers for flagship Intel platforms:

  • Intel Core i7 – highest performance and the latest technology;
  • Intel Core i5 – mainstream;
  • Intel Core i3 – entry-level.

For example, upcoming processors, such as code-named Lynnfield (desktop), will be available as either Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 depending upon the feature-set and capability. Meanwhile, the code-named Clarksfield (mobile) will have the Intel Core i7 name.

Nevertheless, there will also be:

  • Intel Pentium – everyday computing;
  • Intel Celeron – entry-level computing at affordable price points;
  • Intel Atom – smartphones, netbooks, nettops.

“For PC purchasing, think in terms of good-better-best with Celeron being good, Pentium better, and the Intel Core family representing the best we have to offer,” said Mr. Calder.

Platforms: Centrino Set to Die, vPro Will Survive

Since with the new brand structure Intel concentrates on its own brand and microprocessor branding, the company also plans to change branding of its platforms.

  • Intel Centrino – brand will be retired for PCs beginning next year. However, Intel will transition the name to its Wi-Fi and WiMAX products beginning in 2010.
  • Intel vPro – continues to stand for “best in class” security and manageability and will henceforth be paired with either Core i5 or Core i7 iterations, e.g. the stickers on systems will say Core i7 vPro processor or  ntel Core i5 vPro processor name.

“This will be an evolutionary process taking place over time, and we acknowledge that multiple brands will be in the market next year including older ones, as we make the transition. But overall this is a good thing, designed to make it easier and more rational over the long run,” said Mr. Calder.

Graphics? Workstations? Servers?

Even though Intel has remade its branding system for desktop and mobile computers around its microprocessors, it remains completely unclear how, if anyhow, Intel will promote its platforms aimed at business, entertainment, multimedia, workstation or even server usage. Not every business PC needs vPro, but loads of entertainment-class computers need discrete graphics processors called Larrabee (due out in early 2010) and virtually all multimedia systems need high-definition Blu-ray hardware decoding. Only time will tell how (and if) Intel plans to emphasize these features.

Tags: Intel, Core, Celeron, Pentium, Larrabee


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