PC makers roll out Centrino 2 laptops

PC makers including Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Fujitsu rolled out new laptops based on Intel's Centrino 2 technology.

Top vendors including Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Fujitsu have announced consumer and business laptops that will use Intel's new Centrino 2 platform, which is being introduced on Monday. Centrino 2 boasts speedier processors, improved mobility features and support for high-definition graphics.

HP is shipping entertainment PCs that could serve as desktop replacements, including the Pavilion DV7T, which comes with a 17-inch screen. Powered by Core 2 Duo chips included in Centrino 2, the DV7T supports up to 4G bytes of RAM, up to 640G bytes of storage, and comes with integrated Wi-Fi and an optional Blu-ray drive to view high-definition movies. It weighs 5.48 pounds (2.48 kilograms). Prices for the laptops, which also include the Pavilion DV4T and Pavilion DV5T, were not immediately available.

Lenovo added new Centrino 2 laptops to its ThinkPad line that will include optional solid-state storage drives, integrated wireless networking and support Intel's new switchable graphics technology included in Centrino 2. The laptops -- W500, T400 and T500 -- will be able to switch from a separate ATI graphics card to internal graphics when running on a battery. The laptops will be available in August.

Lenovo also rolled out the SL series, which is geared toward small and medium-size businesses. Priced from US$799, the laptops are powered by Core 2 Duo chips and come with an optional online backup service and LoJack technology to track down stolen laptops. The machines are aimed at businesses with up to 99 employees that cannot afford an IT staff to troubleshoot laptop problems, according to the company. The SL line will also include Wi-Fi and mobile broadband with U.S. carrier AT&T.

The SL series could double up for home use, Lenovo said. Its design is inspired by consumer-focused IdeaPad laptops, adding colors and multimedia features such as a connector to display high-definition video. The ThinkPad SL300 will include a 13.3-inch screen and be available worldwide in August. The SL400, which has a 14.1-inch screen, and the SL500, with a 15.4-inch screen, are available immediately, according to the company.

Fujitsu released six new Centrino 2 notebooks, including the ultramobile LifeBook S6520 notebook, which the company claims is "one of the thinnest and lightest in the 14-inch class." Priced at US$1,529 for a base configuration, it weighs around 4 pounds and comes with a 14.1-inch widescreen display.

To provide mobility and multiple input capabilities to users, Fujitsu is launching two Centrino 2 tablet PCs. The LifeBook T1010 and T5010 tablet PCs, with 13.3-inch screens, will be powered by Core 2 Duo chips, with support for up to 250G bytes of storage and up to 4G bytes of memory. The Lifebook T1010 weighs 5.3 pounds with prices starting at $1,299. The T5010 weighs 4.5 pounds, and takes advantage of Centrino 2 with vPro security management features allowing remote fixes. It is priced at $1,769 for a base configuration.

The Fujitsu laptops, available immediately, come with Windows Vista, with the option to downgrade to Windows XP.

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