Intel to rebrand some chips, phase out "Centrino"

A model poses with a laptop fitted with the new Intel Centrino 2 processor during its launch in Taipei July 15, 2008. REUTERS/Nicky Loh

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Intel Corp plans to phase out some of its brands, including the “Centrino” for computers, to focus on fewer top names as the chip maker expands into new markets such as mobile devices.

Santa Clara-based Intel said on Wednesday it will stop using “Centrino” to refer to personal computers beginning next year. Instead, it will use the brand to refer to WiFi- and WiMAX-based wireless products.

The world’s top chip maker, known for its ubiquitous “Intel Inside” stickers, also said it would phase out sub-categories of its Core brand, such as “Core 2 Duo.”

“We have a complex structure with too many platform brands, product names, and product brands, and we’ve made things confusing for consumers and IT buyers,” Intel spokesman Bill Calder wrote on a company blog.

“Today the Intel Core brand has a mind boggling array of derivatives (such as Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad, etc). Over time those will go away and in its place will be a simplified family of Core processors.”

The company plans to repackage its Core family of microprocessors with a simpler naming scheme -- the Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 -- describing basic, mid-range and high-end features within the Core line, respectively.

Desktop computers based on the Core i7 chip were launched in November 2008. The company said Core i5 and Core i3 chips will launch in coming months.

But Intel said it would keep its overall, consumer friendly branding for microprocessors such as the Atom, Celeron, Pentium and Core chips.

The Atom is designed for netbooks -- small, ultra-portable laptops -- and mobile devices. The Celeron, Pentium and Core chips are designed for both desktop and laptop computers and the Core chips are Intel’s highest-end microprocessors.

Reporting by Clare Baldwin in San Francisco; editing by Andre Grenon