Despite the fact that Intel's latest Centrino platform - Santa Rosa - only launched in May, Intel is already talking about its successor. Dadi Perlmutter - Senior Vice President, General Manager, Mobility Group - headed up the mobility keynote and was keen to emphasis the importance of the mobile platform to Intel.
The number of notebooks purchased has grown exponentially over the past few years, with Centrino responsible for some of that increase. As things stand, 40 per cent of all computers bought are notebooks and Intel is convinced that by 2009 notebooks will make up over 50 per cent of the market.
Historically, the most important aspects to mobile users have been performance, battery life, wireless networking and size / weight. More recent research shows that those criteria are still high on the list, but now data protection sits at number two, which will please MI5, since its agents have a habit of leaving their laptops in public places.
It was somewhat surprising to see performance as the number one need for mobile users, since as a notebook user myself, size / weight and battery life are far more important to me, but Dadi was insistent that performance is very important indeed. To be fair, Dadi was honest enough to say that if you're just using your notebook for text editing, performance doesn't matter. However, I'd be inclined to say that if you use a notebook for general applications like word processing, email and web browsing, performance is far from paramount.
But many notebook users aren't just using general office applications, many users need their notebooks to do everything that a high powered desktop can do. With music and video becoming synonymous with computers, a notebook needs to be able to encode and even transcode music and video as well as a desktop. And with devices like Creative's Zen and Apple's iPod Touch hitting the market, that need is just going to grow. With this in mind Dadi gave a demonstration comparing a notebook equipped with a current generation Merom chip, to a notebook equipped with a next generation Penryn chip. Both machines were set up to encode a video into MPEG 4 - unsurprisingly, the Penryn equipped machine finished the encode much faster.