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Intel to Launch vPro Bundle for Business Desktops in 2006

Posted by iNext - 2006-04-27

Seeking to repeat its success with the Centrino platform for notebook PCs, Intel said today it will launch vPro, a collection of hardware and software services based on its new Conroe processor for business desktops.

Conroe is the desktop version of the three new 64-bit, dual-core chips that Intel hopes will reverse its slide in market share compared with Advanced Micro Devices. Conroe is not due out until the third quarter, but Intel, of Santa Clara, California, announced vPro now to give vendors time to build it into their PCs.

The vPro package will deliver low IT maintenance costs, high security, and better energy efficiency, said Intel president and chief executive officer Paul Otellini at a press conference in San Francisco.

Both Hardware and Software

The package will achieve that goal by combining hardware and software features, just as Centrino does. Included will be a Conroe processor, a new chip set, management and virtualization technology from Intel, and security services from Symantec.

A desktop running the vPro package will incur lower IT maintenance costs than other PCs by ensuring that IT staffers can solve most of its computer problems remotely, Intel said.

Already, network administrators can solve 87 percent of typical business desktop problems remotely, Otellini said. But the few remaining problems that require personal "desktop visits" generate almost half the maintenance cost for a typical company.

PC Maintenance Most Costly

"IT spending is problematic," Otellini said. "A typical shop spends 89 percent of its IT budget for day-to-day maintenance, and only 11 percent on new capital investment, which is crucial to stay competitive in business."

Put another way, IT departments used to be able to pay for four years of maintenance with the same amount of money they would spend on a new PC. Today that equation has flipped, so annual maintenance now costs twice the price of a new PC, he said.

Intel can use vPro to compete for a bigger share of business spending in both maintenance and hardware.

"In recent years, the notebook has seen great evolution, but the good old desktop has not," Otellini said. "But the desktop still has an enormous installed base; desktops are more than 70 percent of all PCs sold, about 85 million units per year."

Intel plans to put a small vPro sticker on each desktop, just as it labels notebooks with Centrino stickers today.

Intel plans to deliver vPro in 2006, with a road map to add three improvements--spread it from desktops to notebooks, upgrade the processor from a dual-core processor to a quad-core chip, and extend virtualization from the processor to the hard drive and I/O channels--by 2007.

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