New Centrino notebooks highlight enterprise mobility

Notebook manufacturers may be gung ho over the multimedia-driven consumer market, but Intel has the business market firmly within its sights with its next-generation Centrino mobile technology unveiled today.

Codenamed Sonoma, Intel Corp.’s Centrino mobile technology features integrated 802.11a/g wireless networking and a 533MHz front-side bus speed. Pentium M processor speeds range from 1.60GHz to 2.13GHz.

Intel Australia and New Zealand managing director, Phil Cronin, said since the launch of Centrino in 2003 there has been a “sea change in the way in which we think about computing and the way we do our computing — both corporate and consumer.

“At the corporate level the user community will begin to demand this as an IT tool,” Cronin said, adding that Deloitte’s move to a mobile platform for 8000 of its staff is an example of the momentum wireless is gaining in the enterprise space.

Large computer manufacturers — including Dell, HP and IBM — will introduce notebooks suited specifically to the business market. Overall, Intel claims some 80 models are ready to go today with about 150 models following soon.

“From the business side, the new array microphone has improved the microphone technology,” Cronin said. “One of the stumbling blocks in voice recognition and voice capability has been not so much the software or the processing power to develop the applications, but just as much in the technology at the microphone level and its ability to capture the sound of the human voice.”

With Sonoma being wireless-centric, Cronin said security is a key element, particularly on the corporate side.

“Cleary corporate Australia has taken the view that we need to address these issues,” he said. “Within the Sonoma platform we are working closely with Cisco and we will discuss with corporate Australia the level of security required to give [confidence] in using public wireless access points.”

Intel is also working with software companies to optimize packages for Sonoma. “The ISVs are a key part as they start to port their applications,” Cronin said. “Over time we will see more of this happening, particularly at the business level.”

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