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Intel ditches 3G from Centrino

High-speed mobile wireless proves too expensive

Intel has ditched plans to include 3G connectivity in its next Centrino platform, claiming that supporting the high-speed wireless standard would prove too expensive.

The next revision of Centrino, codenamed Santa Rosa, was initially due to include support for High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HDSPA) when it ships in the second quarter. But now users will have to rely solely on Wi-Fi to access the web on the move.

"After doing further analysis, we decided it wasn't a good enough ROI (return on investment) to bring that product to the notebook market now. But that doesn't change the value proposition of Santa Rosa at all," said Intel spokeswoman Connie Brown. Santa Rosa is to feature an updated processor, chipset and graphics card, among other things.

Intel said it hasn’t completely given up on HSDPA, but isn’t committing on when the technology will find its way into the Centrino platform. "We will continue to look into embedding 3G capability at some time. It's certainly on the table, but we're not ready to announce anything at this time," Brown said.

The company boosted the wireless capabilities of Centrino laptops last month, when it launched an improved wireless card that uses the IEEE 802.11 Draft-N standard. The upgrade allows Centrino laptops users to share five times the data at twice the range of their current 802.11a/g cards, according to Intel.

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