Intel's Wi-Fi Efforts Lagging
By Carlo Longino, Mon Sep 15 19:45:00 GMT 2003

Though their Centrino marketing would have you believe otherwise, Intel is trailing in the wireless tech race.

As their biannual developer forum begins this week, Intel annouced another delay of its 802.11 a/b chip, saying it would ship later this year, with a spokesman saying an a/b/g combo chip would be ready by next June.

Some of the company's rivals made annoucements recently showing that they're months, if not years, ahead of Intel in the Wi-Fi stakes. Atheros today released its latest generation of chips, an a/b/g chip and a b/g combo that it says double the range of existing products while using 60 percent less power. And Philips and Broadcom last week announced new products geared for mobile devices and consumer products, boasting much smaller physical size and reduced power demands than existing Wi-Fi solutions.

So, clearly behind in the tech stakes, Intel is blinding the market with advertising and brand-building blitzes for its Centrino line. But it's worth noting that the Centrino's WLAN chips don't come from Intel, but rather from Philips, Texas Instruments, and an Intel-Symbol Technologies collaboration. And though major notebook manufacturers have adopted Centrino, lots of corporate customers are shying away from it (and choosing alternative suppliers like Broadcom) since it only supports 802.11b.

Combine this with Intel's less-than-impressive performance in the mobile chip market, and it is making some wonder whether the Wintel cartel's vision of dominating the mobile and wireless industries will pan out.