Dell Computer appears to be playing both sides in the mobile wireless arena, supporting both Intel's Centrino as well as new wireless options. At issue is the battle between the advertised as "Centrino" devices, meaning that they use Intels PRO Wireless component. Intels marketing program will foot part of the advertising bill for OEMs who design machines using all three of the Centrino components: the Banias processor, an Intel chipset, and the PRO Wireless or Calexico" wireless component, which only supports 802.11b.
However, some OEMs apparently wish to use third-party wireless silicon to improve performance and add 802.11g support. Intel has promoted 802.11a for faster wireless networking, over the emerging g standard.
Dells D-Series Latitudes offer a no-cost upgrade to the Dell TrueMobile 1300 miniPCI card, which includes an 802.11g chipset from Broadcom. A dual-band 802.11a/b/g Dell TrueMobile 1400 card costs an extra $69.
Hewlett-Packard has also decided against Centrino.
"Intels marketing people made a huge a bet, and made a significant mistake in not endorsing g," said Jeff Thermond, vice-president and general manager of Broadcoms wireless business unit, in a recent interview. The Dell D-Series Latitudes also include a Broacom gigabit Ethernet controller.
Dell representatives were unable to be contacted for comment at press time.
An Intel representative confirmed Tuesday that the companys first PRO Wireless cards were assembled and designed by Intel using components, including radios, from Philips and Symbol. Intel wireless radios will first begin appearing in the product after the forthcoming dual-band wireless card, which Intel privately calls the Intel Pro Wireless 2100A.
The new Dell D-series notebooks include a new port replicator and docking stand. The D600 and D800 start at $1,399 and $1,699 respectively, and include either a 1.3-, 1.4-, or 1.6-GHz Banias processor.