Intel Centrino brand weak, AMD thinks@ 2005/02/03
By Mike Magee: Thursday 03 February 2005, 10:14
SOURCES CLOSE to AMD say the company did extensive market research on notebook buyers' habits and concluded that Centrino is not as awesome a brand as Intel would have you believe.
You're probably thinking that perhaps AMD has put its blinkers on in the chip desperation derby because it wants to believe this, but the same sources tell the INQ that the smaller X86 company spent quite some independent money to survey the world+dog.
The truth seems to be that it depends where you are and why you're buying a notebook which decides whether you've even heard of Centrino, according to the reports.
If you're in Japan, for instance, and you're a consumer, Centrino may well be a closed book to you. But if you're in the business world+dog, you are very likely to have come across the brand, wherever you are. That's probably because if you're in the weird demimonde of international airports, your eyes will have been assailed by massive Centrino posters as well as the very familiar shops you're expected to waste your money in.
The conclusion, for AMD, is that commercial IT buyers know all about Centrino but still prefer to buy on brands - such as Sony, Panasonic and the rest. Consumers are pretty much clueless about Centrino, and if they do know about it, they think it is a CPU.
AMD appears to have considered - hey it still may be considering - launching a series E low power chip that it will brand Ivanhoe. As for the name of a processor - well AMD toyed with this idea quite a bit before finally plumping for the [Cen]Turion name. It had considered launching chips called Movara and Travera, but the focus groups didn't seem to love those names very much.
Not that the world's press seemed to care very much for the presentation about the Turion brand they were treated to at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. We conducted a straw poll of various hacks' impressions of the 40 minute presentation AMD gave. The overall impression was that they hadn't a clue what the chip firm was on about. Rather than give said hacks details about technical specs, it was all about branding. Maybe it's time for Intel to spend money investigating the Turion brand and see if consumers have got a clue what that's all about. Sure as heck, none of the hacks seemed to know what it all meant.
Sometimes people think there's little difference between marketing and journalism, and certainly we've come across hacks who think they're marketeers, and marketeers who fancy themselves as hacks. But in the case of [Cen]Turion and Centrino, most of us just hacks just wanna know what the heck are the specs, and bugger the cute little logos. µ