Forthcoming Centrino platform only the first step on road to extended battery life

The next version of Intel's Centrino platform for wireless laptops may not enable any significant increase in battery life on Intel-based notebooks and laptops, the company has said.

The next version of Intel's Centrino platform for wireless laptops may not enable any significant increase in battery life on Intel-based notebooks and laptops, the company has said.

Centrino integrates Intel's processor, chipset and wireless networking card. The third Centrino platform - called Napa - will appear in wireless laptops from the first quarter of 2006.

Intel is working towards a target of 2008 to develop a laptop battery that lasts for eight hours. The Napa platform, which is the first Centrino platform to feature multicore processors, represents Intel's latest step towards an eight-hour battery life.

However, Intel confirmed that the forthcoming version of Napa may not improve on battery life compared to its predecessor.

Intel has a stated strategy to improve the battery life of mobile computers, but laptop manufacturers have yet to see whether the Napa platform will improve battery life in their products.

Toshiba product manager Ken Chan said, "We do not know whether Napa is going to use more or less battery because we have not seen the models."

All laptops based on the Centrino platform make extensive use of Intel's Speed Step technology, which enables the processor to slow down when little demand is placed on it.

To date, the longest battery life achieved by a laptop is about four hours. Toshiba has developed a technology which it believes will remove the main problem with limited battery life - the length of time needed to recharge the battery. The laptop manufacturer can recharge a notebook battery in one minute, although commercial application of this technology is at least two to three years away, said Chan.

What uses all the power?

Chip manufacturer AMD has calculated how much battery life is used by each laptop component. The figures are an average of all major Intel and AMD devices.

  • Processor 7%-9%
  • Graphics and chipset 27%-29%
  • Screen (15 inches) 35%
  • Drives 27%-31%

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