Intel is working on a new version of its Centrino 2 chip package for laptops that takes up less space, opening the door to more ultra-thin laptop designs like Apple's MacBook Air.

Due in August, the Small Form Factor (SFF) version of Centrino 2 will take up less space than the version of Centrino 2 released this week. The SFF version will use the same chip-packaging technology Intel developed for the Core 2 Duo processor used in the MacBook Air, which shrinks the processor size significantly.

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"We will launch Small Form Factor [chips] ... in the third week of August," said Sujan Kamran, regional marketing manager of client platforms at Intel in Singapore.

Intel executives declined to offer details of the upcoming release, but said the smaller Centrino 2 package would be available with several processor models, suggesting a variety of ultra-thin laptop models based on the chips will hit the market.

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