With a recession negatively affecting sales numbers in every market, Intel is urging consumers to go out and buy new PCs. In order to spur such a buying frenzy, the processor giant is making some of its notebook offerings more powerful while making others much more affordable.
According to Intel marketing director Karen Regis, 37 percent of the installed PC base is over three years old, and 38 percent of that base is in the desktop category. Regis says this keeps a lot of PC users in the dark regarding high-quality media, networking, and security. Plus, many PC users who would like to go mobile with their hardware are currently tethered to a desk. In order to spur a jump in laptop sales, Intel plans on rolling out Montevina Plus, an update to the current Centrino 2 (Montevina) platform. The update will see Penryn processors pushed beyond the 3.0GHz mark, and have a new found emphasis on High Definition content. Many consumers may see the new operating frequency numbers and jump on the opportunity to buy a new and more powerful laptop.
With Intel claiming that Montevina Plus has a new energized focus on HD, one has to wonder where that graphics muscle is going to come from. Centrino 2 is all about working with top end graphics cards (my Centrino 2 notebook has a 9800GTS, for example), so will this new HD campaign focus on the lower end of Montevina Plus? If that's the case, perhaps we will see Nvidia's 9400M come into play, or even a new mobile IGP from Intel.
While some consumers crave power with no respect to size, others want power in a sleek and small profile package. In order to accommodate highly mobile power users, Intel is also bringing prices down on its Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) processors. Such hardware, found now in laptops like the MacBook Air and other expensive ultra-lightweight notebooks, typically has a price tag of $1,500 or more. Intel wants to bring its ULV processors to lightweight mobile solutions in the more approachable $599-$1,000 range. Regis emphasized that these new notebooks will be full-scale PCs and not netbooks, with most screens being 13.3-inches+. Hopefully, the emphasis on HD will trickle down from the Centrino 2 laptops to these new ULV offerings.
Expect Montevina Plus to be rolled in the second quarter of 2009, with the price reduction of ULV chips also coming sometime this year.