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December 14, 2005

Intel touts Napa laptop platform

John Hazard and John G. Spooner at eWeek:

NEW YORK – Intel Corp. is touting its next mobile platform, dubbed Napa, as another major milestone in notebook PC history.

At a session for reporters and business analysts here Tuesday, Erik Reid, product marketing director at Intel’s Mobile Platforms Group, stood Yonah—the chip maker’s first dual-core mobile Pentium processor—and Napa next to such advances as flat-panel displays and the chip maker’s first Centrino chip bundle, which helped to jump-start the trend of pairing notebooks and wireless.

Intel claims the latest notebook technology stands to boost average performance 68 percent beyond that of its current Sonoma platform, which includes its single-core Pentium M, while reducing power consumption an average of 28 percent, extending battery life beyond the 5-hour mark, Reid said. Napa also improves wireless bandwidth and can help cut the size of a notebook by 30 percent versus today’s machines, the Santa Clara, Calif., company said.

But the question left unanswered was whether the Napa chipset would be the basis for the new Apple laptops:

Intel announced Tuesday that its new line of chips will be built into more than 230 new laptop computers coming in 2006, making them much better at running music, movies and other digital media.

But it wouldn’t say a word about whether that includes the laptop creating the most buzz, expected from its new marquee customer, Apple Computer.

The new laptops are based on Intel’s new Napa platform that will enable the biggest upgrade in two years for portable technology. An Apple laptop with the technology could address the pent-up demand among the Macintosh faithful who have been disappointed with Apple laptops that run on Power PC chips. Apple said this year it would switch to Intel by mid-2006.

A number of analysts expect Apple to introduce its first Intel-based laptop with the new Napa technology at its Macworld trade show in January.

Why wouldn’t Apple use it? I can think of a few reasons, mostly in the vein of Apple wanting to clearly distinguish their hardware from the general WinTel market, but presumably they could sufficiently personalize the Napa platform so that wouldn’t be a problem.

Posted at 6:18 pm. Filed under Apple, Brands, Companies, Intel, Napa, Notebook, Yonah

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