Dadi Perlmutter, Intel senior vice president and general manager for Mobility Group, gave details on the next generation of notebooks with built-in WiMAX connectivity. Finally after years of getting the specifications of WiMAX together, Intel will be rolling out notebook PCs with such capabilities.
However, before Montevina first makes it appearance, Intel will be refreshing its current Santa Rosa line-up with their new 45nm Penryn processor. Notebooks with the new Penryn cores are expected to perform better with all the minor architectural enhancements found in the new processor. Besides raw performance, Penryn will also offer instant power savings since the new die shrink is expected to slightly reduce the processor's power consumption. However, the biggest enhancement to the processor's power management capabilities would be its new deep power-down state which enables the processor to totally shut off its entire cache while significantly lowering the voltage on its core. Expect to see refreshed Santa Rosa notebooks with the new Penryn processors some time in the first quarter of 2008.
Fast forward to the middle of 2008 and you will come face to face with yet another new platform known as Montevina. As mentioned earlier, Montevina will be the first notebook PC with built-in WiMAX capabilities. Offering users with two different wireless options known as Echo Peak (which comes with both WiMAX and Wi-Fi) and Shirley Peak (that offers only Wi-Fi), Montevina will also feature a new chipset (known as Cantiga) that is designed specifically for improved graphics performance especially with HD content. Montevina is also to come integrated with HD-DVD or Blu-ray support for consumers.
Although WiMAX offers greater speed and wider range as compared to most other wireless broadband alternatives, WiMAX availability is still sorely lacking, especially in certain less technologically advanced countries. However, Intel is confident of the momentum generated by WiMAX, as witnessed by the increasing number of trials and partners committing to the new technology. It may not reach mainstream acceptance as quickly as Wi-Fi but Intel believes in first providing clients with the capabilities so that there will be a ready pool of users who will subscribe to such services when providers make them available. Think of it as eliminating that "chicken and egg" situation.