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Intel: We're all office warriors now

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Intel expects almost 40 per cent of its business will come from notebooks in the next two years, as OEMs seek to pacify a new class of user - the "office warrior".

The chip generalissimo expects the planned Napa edition of Intel's Centrino chip will further fuel growth, with Napa currently outpacing its earlier Sonoma cousin in design wins. Napa has chalked up 120 wins ahead of its first quarter 2006 launch compared to a total of 150 for Sonoma, which shipped in the first quarter of 2005.

"We are way ahead of previous design wins with Sonoma," Intel chief mobile technology evangelist Mike Trainor told The Register at the company's Wireless and Mobility Day in San Francisco this week.

The company expects its mix of business from laptops could top out at nearly 40 per cent in the first quarter of 2006, up from just under 30 per cent. That compares to just under 20 per cent in the first quarter of 1999.

One factor driving business will be Intel's Yonah dual-core technology. Trainor, speaking at Intel's San Francisco, California, event said it was Intel's "under the cover stuff" like Yonah that is getting the most traction from OEMs.

Yonah, currently running in an Intel concept laptop called "Digital Office", will feature a shared 2MB level-two cache running through a single bus that will dynamically allocate memory to each core according to workload.

Intel is currently working with OEMs to bring Yonah to market along with a number of other features in laptops it believes will improve the experience of what Intel is calling the "office warrior" - an evolution of the "road warrior" with a different set of mobile needs.

According to Intel, office warriors roam company campuses, spend lots of time in meetings and often go on the road. That demands laptops with longer battery life, that provide easier access to key information without keep flipping machines open, and integrate with other devices like mobile phones for added use.

Intel has already sold OEMs like Lenovo along with operating system giant Microsoft on easier access to information. Two machines from Lenovo, demonstrated at the conference, feature a mini screen on the outside of the laptop to tell the user if they have email or a network signal without needing to flip-open or boot-up the machine.

Microsoft's planned Longhorn operating system, meanwhile, will include capabilities that support this auxiliary display.

Integration between the laptop and a mobile phone is featured in Intel's Digital Office. Intel said Digital Office would use the phone to dial-up wireless networks while the phone is capable of displaying PC applications like calendar or email. ®

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