In the world of mobility, hardware vendors in 2006 took advantage of multicore processors to introduce improvements in performance and battery life to laptops.
Intels next Centrino mobile platform, Centrino Pro, is expected sometime in the first half of 2007. Code-named Santa Rosa, Centrino Pro will be a combination of the 64-bit Merom Core 2 Duo processor and a new graphics chip set code-named Crestline. The platform promises to deliver an 800MHz front-side bus and 4MB of Level 2 cache.
In addition to increased battery life and processing power, Centrino Pro will introduce 802.11n wireless networking capabilities to Intels mobile platform. While the chip maker has in the past waited for wireless specifications to become standard, it has announced that it will not delay Centrino Pro until 802.11n becomes a standard and will instead release a draft-ready chip.
Along with the introduction of 802.11n wireless to mobile devices, the coming year promises increased support for wireless broadband. Intel has also announced that it will integrate HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) wireless technology into the Centrino Pro platform. HSDPA is an asymmetric data transmission technique that delivers a capacity of 2M bps to 3M bps that is expected to eventually increase to 14.4M bps. Its inclusion in the Centrino Pro platform will eliminate the need for IT managers to purchase separate HSDPA cards for users laptops.
Users wont have to wait until Intel releases Centrino Pro to get HSDPA support, though. In 2006, Dell began shipping Latitude laptops with HSDPA chips for Cingulars third-generation cellular network.
As mobile phone carriers continue to build out their 3G networks, eWeek Labs expects to see increased adoption of mobile devices that support HSDPA.
Competing high-speed cellular technology 1xEvDO (Evolution Data Optimized) from Sprint, Verizon Wireless and Alltel will also gain in significance in 2007.
The continued deployment of these high-speed networks—both 1xEvDO and HSDPA—means users can expect more advanced multimedia capabilities and features, including mobile broadcast television, on handheld devices.
Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at [email protected].