By Andy Patrizio
April 4, 2007
Intel today announced a major aspect of its upcoming next-generation Centrino technology, codenamed “Santa Rosa.” It will incorporate its vPro desktop management technologies with the Centrino mobile platform, thus creating Centrino Pro.
Notebooks based on Centrino Pro are expected to be available later this quarter. This will be the first mobile platform to support low-power Core 2 Duo processors. It’s also expected to include an improved graphics chipset, an 802.11n Wi–Fi adapter, advanced management and security solutions and support for Microsoft’s ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive technologies in Vista.
Intel claims the new graphics chipset will support Vista’s Aero 3D interface. Centrino Pro includes a Turbo Memory feature which lets frequently-used applications load up to twice as fast as normal, and boot time can be reduced as much as 20 percent.
The vPro technology making its way into Centrino Pro is not the newest version, codenamed Weybridge, that’s due later this year. Weybridge will have features like WS-MAN Web services support and Trusted Execution Technology to guard against viruses.
Christine Dotts, a spokesperson for Intel, said it’s typical for laptop technologies to lag behind the desktop. “If you look at Intel’s history when adding features, it has naturally started with desktop and migrated to notebooks. It was that way when they refreshed processors and it’s the same way for chipsets,” she told internetnews.com.
Plus there was the difficulty of adapting vPro for mobile devices, particularly in the area of wireless networking. “Doing [desktop management] in a wired environment is not as complex as doing that in a wireless environment. It’s more complex, and frankly it’s just harder to do,” she said.
Santa Rosa will feature 802.11n wireless networking, which will have double the range and four times the speed of 802.11g. However, 802.11n is still going through an approval process. While the spec is mostly done, there are still final changes to be made before it’s approved; a process that’s expected to take another two years. Dotts said when the final spec comes out, Santa Rosa-based laptops will be upgradeable.
Dean McCarron, of semiconductor research firm Mercury Research, said there’s a good reason to wait on rolling out new laptop technology. “Notebooks do not use the absolute latest technology being used in desktops [because] once it’s in a notebook, it’s not as easy to take care of a problem,” he said.
Nonetheless, McCarron said vPro is needed by IT departments. “A lot of IT departments have been migrating users from desktops to notebooks, and those [vPro] capabilities have not been present,” he said.