Intel will tomorrow announce modules aimed at notebook machines which it hopes will change the rules of the game for corporate end users and the industry.
The Mobile Module, another of Intel?s daughterboard-style designs, will use Intel?s 430TX chipset and is aimed at vendors who want the ability to upgrade by sliding an additional daughterboard into a machine later.
During this year, Intel is expected to introduce a Klamath - now called a Pentium II - module which will replace the initial Pentium MMX design expected.
But the Mobile Module is expected to draw flak from notebook manufacturers because adding a sideways module can make a machine intended to be slim as fat as 1.8 inches.
There will also be less differentiation in design if the notebook manufacturers accept Intel?s motherboard designs.
One UK distributor specialising in the notebook market said: ?I?m really depressed. We in the industry have let Intel do it to us again. He claimed that PCMCIA-card manufacturers in particular were likely to be unable to differentiate themselves.
?This is a backward step,? he said. ?The PCMCIA body will get buggered by Intel. All Intel will do is take a PC card and turn it round. What?s to stop them putting a modem or anything else on these modules.?
A source at IBM?s Thinkpad division said: ?The overriding answer about whether we or any vendors will use Mobile Module?s is that we don?t know. There?s not much in it for us. A lot of Intel?s chips recently have been running hot and this is early days from Intel. There might be appeal to third party service companies who will have to upgrade the notebooks.?
But Intel?s plans will be fought by clone chip makers like AMD, a source at the company confirmed. He confirmed that AMD hoped to bring out a low power voltage version of its K6 processor before Intel can supply Mobile Modules in bulk. It will only consume around seven watts and 3.3 volts.
Intel told many of its manufacturers at a conference last week that they will have Mobile Modules using a 200MHz Pentium processor.
Guy Tweedale, European marketing manager at TDK, which manufactures a number of PCMCIA-type cards, said: "Intel have done things like this before where they could leverage accessory sales by changing cards. In the early days of PCMCIA they were a big player but they pulled out of it."
He said it was unlikely the Mobile Module would have appeal for corporate end users. "Anyone who wanted to move away from PCMCIA would cause a lot of trouble for them," he said. Compatibility on the standard had taken a long time to agree.
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