On the eve of the PC Expo in New York, Intel was pushing notebook makers to expand their mobile offerings during the next year, hoping to give customers more choices than ever for maximising mobile productivity while minimising costs.
In a market that formerly contained as few as two types of notebooks, Intel envisions as many as seven by 2000, including a critical new category labelled "mininotebooks", that was expected to be showcased by vendors at the event. Intel will also be specialising pro-cessors for some of these emerging markets, according to internal Intel documents.
"We design to meet the needs of customers," said Frank Spindler, vice president of marketing for the mobile products group at Intel. "There are some cases where we have designed or will offer products for these different categories."
The moves are intended to serve a larger variety of mobile users with full-fledged notebook PCs during a time when users are increasingly turning to PC alternatives.
Intel's further splintering of mobile PCs also comes at a particularly vulnerable time for the notebook market. LCD prices are increasing, due to a worldwide shortage, and higher costs of DRAM and DVD are all driving up notebook prices.
Meanwhile, the announcement by Intel that the release of the 0.18 micron Pentium III for desktops would be a delayed by two months might have caused jitters in Nasdaq trading but should give no heartache to the channel.
According to Intel Australia marketing manager Phillip Dows, the chip giant would still be releasing the 600MHz processor for desktops on or ahead of schedule later this year.
Intel has previously said it will release three versions of the 0.18 Pentium III technology, dubbed Coppermine, by the end of the year, and Dows confirmed that this is still on track for the "second half of the year". He did not, however, nominate a date.
Meanwhile, Intel has introduced its first 0.18 micron processor, the mobile Pentium II running at 400MHz as well as the new 400MHz Celeron for mobiles using the 0.25 micron technology.