Local assemblers launch Centrino notebooks

Local assemblers launch Centrino notebooks

There were notebooks aplenty at the launch of Intel’s new Centrino mobile technology but resellers will have to wait until April before most of the offerings hit the shelves.

Optima, IPEX and ASI Solutions were among the companies that turned out to show the latest additions to their notebook lineups. Most models were fresh off overseas production lines and will ship next month.

“Over the last few years we have seen a gradual increase in the movement from desktop PCs to mobile form factors,” general manager for Intel Australia, David Bolt, said.

The launch marked ASI’s re-entry into the notebook market. The local assembler will offer its Centrino-based notebook for its high-end customers as well as an entry level option based on Mobile Pentium 4 technology.

“We were in the market a couple of years ago,”ASI product manager Craig Quinn said. “We feel that now the time is right and it is important to have notebooks as part of our range.”

Almost a dozen PC vendors, with the notable exception of HP, turned out to showcase systems at the launch. Acer even went a step further, launching the first Tablet PC to incorporate the technology.

The TravelMate C110 features the Intel Pentium M processor at 900MHz, Centrino’s integrated PRO/Wireless 2100 network connection and 802.11b and wired LAN.

Like most of the products on display yesterday, it will be available from April.

Optima also launched a Centrino-based notebook, the Centoris-E series, which features the Pentium M processor at 1.4 or 1.6GHz, 855PM chipset and PRO/Wireless 2100 network connection.

One of the biggest drawcards for vendors is Centrino’s low power consumption without the performance compromise. The technology allows PC makers to extend the optimum battery life of their notebooks to more than eight hours in some cases.

However Intel’s focus is also increasingly on wireless networking. It has partnered with service providers such as Optus, Telstra, Azure and The Xone to help provide nearly 100 verified wireless access locations.

As part of the launch, Optus Mobile showcased its latest hotspot at the MLC Centre in Sydney’s CBD.

Bolt said wireless access would have to be a lot easier to use before it became ubiquitous. Combining the elements of mobility under the Intel brand were the first step, he said.

“It’s okay to have all the infrastructure but if you don’t know how to access it, it’s not much use,” Bolt said.

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