After miscue, Centrino 2 takes the stage

Intel's newest mobile platform brings new processors, chipsets, and graphics engine, along with improvements in wireless capability and security.

SAN FRANCISCO--Though a little behind schedule, it's finally here.

Despite a minor snafu that held up the launch by three weeks , Intel officially introduced its new Centrino 2 platform at a press event here Monday night.

The delay was reportedly a problem with the FCC certification for the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard used in the platform, in addition there were reports of problems with the integrated graphics feature.

Intel Centrino 2
More than 240 new laptops will be launched Tuesday using Intel's Centrino 2 platform. Erica Ogg/CNET News

But on launch day, Intel's Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of the mobile platforms group, said the fix was a "simple procedure" and that Intel is "good to go."

As part of the introduction of Centrino 2 platform, later Monday night PC makers like Lenovo, Acer, Gateway, Fujitsu, and others will roll out their latest laptops with the updated technology.

The Centrino 2 platform comes in two flavors, one for consumers, and one with Intel's vPro technology for business customers .

This time around, Centrino 2's high-definition media capability is what Intel is trying to push. The whole platform is set up to enhance Blu-ray playback, and the company says it will help a laptop's battery last two hours, which for many films means you can see the entire HD movie without having to recharge.

There are five new processors available within the Centrino 2 family. At the event, Intel made a big show of its Core2 Extreme Mobile Processor X9100, which it says is the "highest performing mobile processor." Intel has removed overclock protection, and generally tuned it to impress gamers. To demonstrate, an Intel employee played the PC version of Assassin's Creed on a notebook with the Extreme Mobile Processor.

The new chipset is also developed with an eye toward gamers. Intel is introducing an option in which the same notebook can switch between using discrete graphics (which are battery intensive and loved by gamers) and integrated graphics (which reduces the power drain on the PC).

In all, Intel tried to demonstrate what it thinks is the most important issue for mobile PC users: balancing power efficiency and faster processing. The "secret sauce," said Intel's Eden, is a feature they are calling HUGI, which stands for "Hurry Up and Get Idle."

The company says it will enable the new 2.8GHz processor to consume 60 percent less electricity than its 2.33GHz processor on a single task, and it will get that task done 30 second faster.

Also in Centrino 2, 802.11n Wi-Fi will be standard. Intel says to expect five times faster wireless connections, and twice the range, but to get ready for WiMax coming this fall. Though not available immediately, future versions of Centrino 2 will come with built-in WiMax capability.

 

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