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It is a well-known fact that Intel has an indisputable lead in mobile computers market. The company has quite a lot of traditions for building CPUs with low power consumption with relatively high performance and excellent stability. It looks like Centrino may have surpassed all the expectations – according to IDC, notebooks based on Centrino may account for up to 42% of the market.

PC Pro web-site quoted Jonathan Luo, manager of the Asia-Pacific Solution Group (APSG) at Intel Taiwan, who said that according to a survey released by International Data Corporation, Intel Centrino notebooks were expected to account for roughly 42% among global notebook shipments in 2003. This is definitely a rewarding achievement given that the notebook makers started to sell the Centrino PCs only in March.

IDC also believes that Intel Centrino will gain a strong momentum over the next quarter or two, as 70% of respondents of an IDC’s survey indicated demand for WLAN in their next mobile PCs. The majority of WLAN (aka Wi-Fi) enabled notebooks available today are powered by Intel Centrino mobile platform.

Even though Intel brings a lot of progress with its Centrino technology, other companies in the market may suffer from declining sales.

Intel allows notebook companies to use Intel Centrino brand-name only for computers that feature Intel Pentium M processor, a chipset from Intel as well as a WLAN adapter from Intel. In case a notebook is based upon a different core-logic, for instance, from VIA or ATI; or is built upon Transmeta Crusoe or AMD Athlon XP-M CPU; or features a third-party WLAN adapter, the notebook maker is not authorized to use the Centrino brand. Since currently WLAN and long battery life of mobile computers are usually associated with Centrino, companies like AMD, Transmeta and some others will be in much less favorable positions from marketing standpoint in future.

In early April this year AMD and VIA reportedly had plans to offer an alternative for Intel Centrino, but based on technologies developed by other companies. Neither AMD nor VIA have actually done anything. Moreover, Intel’s Pentium M main competitor among ultra low power consuming chips – Transmeta Efficeon processor announced this Fall – also has not win any contracts so far. Starting from the Q1 next year Intel will offer not only lucrative Pentium M, but also low-cost Celeron processors among options for Centrino. This is very likely to boost sales of the Intel Centrino platform. Additinally, with further growth of the number of WLAN hot-spots, the share of WLAN enabled notebooks will skyrocket.

All in all, Intel’s positions in the mobile market remain very strong, while other companies may find themselves loosing the ground, as even though they can offer an exciting technology, they sometimes cannot resist Intel’s marketing that consistently promotes Centrino.


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