Intel launches Centrino wireless technology

Intel Corp. on Wednesday announced its latest technology designed to unwire the global workforce, and along with a slew of partners, bring wireless access to a wider scope.

At the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, Intel of Canada launched Centrino mobile technology, which integrates wireless capabilities into mobile PCs. Centrino combines Intel’s Pentium M processor, the Intel 855 chipset family and the Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 802.11 Network Connection designed to enable extended battery life, thinner and lighter notebook designs and overall better mobile performance on any form factor from Tablet PCs to full-sized notebooks.

“Centrino is the number one priority for Intel in 2003,” said Doug Cooper, country manager with Intel of Canada. “We started with a clean sheet for the new design. We knew we needed to focus on the areas where mobile workers say they are disadvantaged.”

According to Intel, these mobile dilemmas include low battery life, small screens, lack of performance and speed of mobile PCs, increased work for and small keyboards. Through the Intel Pentium M processor, based on a mobile-optimized microarchitecture, higher performance and lower power consumption is achieved to enable longer battery life – 15 per cent longer than the Intel Pentium 4 processor-M 2.4GHz system, the company said. The processor also includes a 400MHz system bus, a 1MB Layer 2 cache, which turns off parts of the high-speed memory when not needed, and provides support for Enhanced Intel SpeedStop technology.

The Intel 855 chipset family offers two new chipsets developed for the mobile market. The 855PM supports discrete graphics and the 855GM offers integrated Intel Extreme Graphics 2 technology as well as a low-power graphics power management mode.

Intel’s PRO/Wireless 21000 Network Connection enables easier connection to 802.11b, Wi-Fi certified access points. The 2100 also reduces interference with other 802.11 signals as well as certain Bluetooth devices.

At the launch Wednesday, Intel mobile partners including the Fairmont Royal York, the event host, were on hand to promote Centrino as the mobile technology of choice.

According to Tim Aubrey, vice-president of finance and chief technical operator for the Royal York, the Fairmont brand announced Wednesday that wireless technology is in place in all its hotels and resorts worldwide, and will be Centrino-compliant.

“Wireless speaks to the needs of the business traveller,” Aubrey said. “We are moving forward to promote awareness and are doing it with Intel.”

In order to get the awareness ball rolling, Bell Canada along with Intel has opened a Mobile Experience Zone on the main floor of the Royal Bank Tower in Toronto to offer customers a chance to try out the technology before they buy it. The Mobile Experience Zone will be available at no cost for four months.

Centrino is available now and pricing begins at US$720. For details, visit the company’s Canadian Web site at