Intel Refocusing on Core, Atom, Celeron, Pentium Chip Names

Intel has been prolific to the point of daunting, it realized, so to clear up customer confusion, it'll be focusing on its Core processor line - i3, i5 and i7 - which can be simply thought of as good, better, best. Atom, Celeron and Pentium, slightly mucking up the simplicity, will all be sticking around. Intel also plans to retire the Centrino name from PCs, but transition it to Wi-Fi and WiMax products.

Intel announced it will be restructuring its brands - streamlining, if you prefer - with a campaign it succinctly describes on its Website as "Fewer Brands, Greater Impact."

"The fact of the matter is, we have a complex structure with too many platform brands, product names and product brands, and we've made things confusing for consumers and IT buyers in the process," Intel's Bill Calder wrote in a note posted on the company's site June 17.

Calder went on to explain that Intel is working to change this in three ways. The first, highlighted in a new ad campaign, will be by reminding the public of all the neat technologies that Intel helps make possible. (Not a bad idea, after earlier this year it was fined more than a billion dollars for unsavory behavior.)
Second, it will be making Intel Core its primary brand. Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, etc., will be faded out and replaced by the more straightforward Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 - good, better and best, which is instantly easier to understand.
Things do become slightly more complex, though, in that Intel will still offer Celeron for entry-level computing, Pentium for basic computing and Intel Atom for netbooks and smartphones. For PC purchasing, however, one can still apply the good-better-best logic, Calder wrote, "with Celeron being good, Pentium better and the Intel Core family representing the best we have to offer."
Third on the list is the transitioning of some brands from one platform to another.
"Intel vPro technology continues to stand for best-in-class security and manageability and will henceforth be paired with Intel Core in either Core i5 or Core i7 iterations," Calder wrote.
Additionally, the Centrino brand will be retired for PCs, beginning next year, but it will be transitioned to Intel's Wi-Fi and WiMAX products in 2010.
In a video posted to the Intel site, Deborah Conrad, the company's vice president and director of corporate marketing, agreed that Intel's product line had become too confusing.
"Truthfully, we really are trying to help the consumer make the best technology purchase they can. And we realize that the confusion we have often created is preventing the consumer from getting the best value for their investment," Conrad continued.
Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates, says that while Intel is trying to reduce confusion, there are still "an awful lot of brands."
"However, the company is focusing its efforts on Core, and that may help reduce confusion," Kay told eWEEK. But there will still be Atom, Pentium and Celeron brands, and most people don't know what the distinctions are. By 2011, Intel's brand map will be simpler than it is now, but they could still go further with that."
In a nutshell, "They want to reduce confusion, which leads to hesitation and, in the worst case, abandonment of the purchase," said Kay.
Research firm IDC reported in May that, while the processor market was still declining, "the market's bottom is in sight."