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Two or three years later than initially projected, notebooks based on Intel Centrino mobile platform will finally get WiMAX connectivity in 2008, when Intel introduces its new platform code-named Montevina. Unfortunately, Intel still has not made WiMAX mandatory for the new Centrino-branded notebooks, however, given that the option is now considerably more affordable, more notebook makers may install it.

“Intel is the undisputed market leader today with notebook PCs by providing consumers with what they want in performance, battery life and a fully loaded internet experience. Mobile users have an insatiable appetite for and want even more mobility, connectivity and a full Internet on their smaller devices. Intel will satisfy those needs by delivering our latest 45nm processors and WiMAX to notebooks,” said David Perlmutter, Intel senior vice president and general manager, Mobility Group.

Intel’s Montevina platform-based laptops will feature code-named Echo Peak Wi-Fi/WiMAX controller combo or code-named Shirley Peak Wi-Fi controller. The former will allow to connect not only to wireless local area networks (WLANs), but also to wide-area networks (WANs), a valuable feature in countries and cities with WiMAX coverage.

In fact, Intel already ships special chips for mobile WiMAX, but the current solution is not a truly affordable one and not a lot of notebook makers have adopted it. Even though Echo Peak will also not be a compulsory component for Intel Centrino mobile platform, it will be much easier for notebook suppliers to utilize it and it is highly likely that makers of mobile computers will sell machines with WiMAX support in the countries where the WAN technology is available.

A number of notebook makers, including Acer, Asustek, Lenovo, Panasonic and Toshiba today expressed intent to embed WiMAX into Montevina-based laptops in 2008. These PCs will be among the first to access the Xohm service that will be deployed in many major U.S. cities by Sprint and Clearwire next year.

Mr. Perlmutter continued by discussing how Intel continues to provide advanced mobile processors based on innovative high-k metal gate (Hi-k) silicon technology that deliver energy efficiency for great battery life needed by users on-the-go. He showed what users could expect in terms of more performance and battery life features when the next-generation Centrino Duo platform is refreshed with Intel’s 45nm mobile processor, code-named Penryn. Perlmutter also demonstrated the graphics improvement for the refreshed Centrino Duo based notebooks by unlocking advanced graphic technologies for an enhanced visual experience, especially with DirectX 10-based applications.

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