Centrino to go begging say IT managers

Intel's new wireless chip family, Centrino, is failing to excite New Zealand IT managers, who aren't persuaded they want the three-in-one functionality of the processors.

The Centrino combines three new products from Intel: a low power-consuming CPU, a new chipset and a wireless card that offers 802.11 functionality. To wear the Centrino sticker, portable products will have to carry all three pieces of the puzzle. The chip and chipset on their own--without wireless capability--will be sold by Intel as a separate product under the Pentium M name.

While most OEMs are launching new laptops based on the Centrino package, IT managers that Computerworld Online has spoken to seem quite underwhelmed by the potential.

Ian Rowe, IS enterprise architect at Counties-Manukau and Waitemata district health boards, says wireless functionality isn't something that will be rolled out to every laptop user any time soon.

"With that kind of [wireless] add-on you think of a specific product, not a generic one from a chip maker." Rowe says that as technology advances he believes such a chipset will become more common and, indeed, may have its uses. But at present wireless functionality is a specialist area that isn't required across the board.

"Not in the short term. In the longer term more things do get built into these chips but in the short term it's a separate thought process that you would look at and evaluate separately."

At Carter Holt Harvey's IT division, Oxygen, solutions architect Krassi Modkov says while there are clear benefits, there are also associated costs with supporting such capabilities.

"There's security to consider and, with a company-wide policy to administer, that's no small feat." Oxygen is rolling out Windows XP and upgrading its IT systems to support it, but Modkov says wireless chipsets are not part of that upgrade.

Richmond Meats' IT manager, Ian Bell, is even more dismissive. His company doesn't use laptops at all when it looks for mobility solutions, deploying handheld devices instead.

"Our guys need really mobile devices so we don't look at laptops for them at all."

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