Intel branding mobile motherboards

Following the launch of its Centrino 2 and Centrino 2 with vPro technology chipsets on Monday, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) also announced the availability of its two branded mobile motherboards, which are currently being delivered in the U.S. through three of its channel partners.

According to Bill Davidson, marketing manager at Intel, the company plans on making its mobile motherboards available to additional channel partners, including those in Canada, by early next year.

The company’s branded motherboards support the Centrino 2 technology platform and include the Mobile Board MGM45WU for businesses and the Mobile Board MGM45RM for consumers. These mobile motherboards are being used in a group of notebooks which are powered by Intel technology and are under the codename, Rich Creek 2.

Intel has established a pilot program in which North Syracuse, N.Y.-based Seneca Data, Minneapolis, Minn.-based Equus Computer Systems, Inc. and Fremont, Calif.-based ASI are all distributing the motherboards.

“This is a game changing opportunity for the channel,” Davidson said. “The partner will be able to pick up the motherboard and other components to really offer customers a custom solution. Partners are now able to build a notebook from the component-level which allows them to give better service to their customers.”

Davidson says the motherboards are initially only being introduced as a pilot to its three partners’ customer bases because the company had decided to take on a phased go-to-market approach.

“These motherboards are exclusive to the channel,” Davidson said. “In the past, we’ve gone broad too fast and had pain on our sides and on our customers. Now we’re trying to protect everyone by just launching with three partners first and doing a phased approach. By early next year, anyone in the channel will be able to buy one of our motherboards, including our partners in Canada and outside of the U.S.”

Carmi Levy, senior vice-president of strategic consulting for AR Communications, a London, Ont.-based strategic communications firm, said once these motherboards are made available here, he anticipates them doing well.

“I think Canada will benefit from whitebox motherboards because it will allow partners to bring higher-end computers to market at a more competitive price point,” Levy said. “This will resonate well for small businesses because (these businesses) always want to get more bang for their buck.”

By making Intel-branded motherboards available, Davidson says, system integrators and ultimately end-users, will be able to build their own notebooks according to their own liking and needs.

Levy said having the Intel brand on the motherboards will enable system builders to offer their customers niche configurations and other value-adds that otherwise would not have been made available to end-users by other tier one original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as well.

The Intel Mobile Board MGM45WU targets enterprises and will be able to support Intel’s Core 2 Duo, 45nm or Intel Celeron Processors at 1066/800MHz system front side bus. It will also be able to support dual channel DDR2 800/667 MHz. The Mobile Board MGM45RM, which is being targeted at consumers, will offer end-users enhanced graphics performance, and better battery life in a more mobile and portable form-factor setting.

As for branding the platform formerly known as Montevina, now as Centrino 2, Levy said adding the 2 after the name is a good marketing idea.

“If there’s any one truth with computers today, it’s that brands don’t last as long as they used to,” Levy said. “If you don’t update your brand, the public will often think the brand has gone stale.”

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
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