Intel's new mobile platform coming next year

Intel's Santa Rosa notebook platform will hit the streets in the first half of 2007, bringing improvements in processing power, battery life and wireless connectivity over the current Centrino architecture.

Intel has enjoyed strong sales with Centrino, which combines a low-wattage processor and wireless ability with an efficient chipset. Now the company will upgrade those ingredients to a more efficient version of the Merom Core 2 Duo chip and Crestline ICH8M chipset, together code-named Santa Rosa.

The company would also make the Santa Rosa notebooks start up faster by augmenting current memory technology with a NAND flash-based disk cache, senior vice-president and general manager of Intel's mobility group, Dadi Perlmutter, said at Intel Developer Forum. Compared with a Centrino PC, that Robson technology would allow future notebooks to load applications twice as fast and wake up from a hibernation state twice as fast.

For wireless connectivity, the new notebooks would use the pending 802.11n standard, capable of streaming data at 300Mbps, five times faster than the current 802.11g, Perlmutter said.

To support users until 802.11n is officially approved, Intel has arranged an interoperability program with access point vendors including Buffalo Wireless, D-Link, Cisco's Linksys division and Netgear. Intel will also deliver embedded 3G wireless WAN technology from Nokia, Perlmutter said.

In a demonstration, he played high-definition segments of a film called Spoon on a Santa Rosa platform running Microsoft's Vista OS. That level of broadband connectivity will also allow Intel to extend its new vPro business bundle to notebooks, after having launched it for desktops on September 7.

"But the jewel of the crown for wireless connectivity is WiMax," Perlmutter said.

Intel plans to deliver an integrated Wi-Fi and WiMax chip by 2008. WiMax is a metropolitan-area wireless technology designed to deliver at least 1Mbps of data and in some cases much more.

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