On the heels of Apple's commitment to 802.11n, Intel gets in the act: The timing is no coincidence. Apple and Intel have been coordinating messages, and even though Apple won't be using Intel's chips--Atheros appears to be the anointed party--Intel wanted to wait until after the IEEE task group vote last week and after CES, too. Apple jumped the gun by a few days.
Notebook partners include Acer, Asus, Gateway, and Toshiba committed at this point, with systems available at the end of January using Centrino Duo. The Santa Rosa laptop chipset platform is due in the second quarter of 2007, at which point they expect more participation.
Like Apple, Intel says five times the throughput, twice the range, but only in comparison with their previous products--no actual specs on megabits per second or feet/meters. They do note that N will provide an hour more battery life under comparable circumstances with the previous Centrino flavor. They will support 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz N channels.
The announcement includes the Connect with Centrino program, in which access point makers commit to rigorous testing with Intel to ensure interoperability. This is clever, because it will go beyond the Wi-Fi Alliance tests, which focus on wireless protocols, and include the whole ecosystem of DHCP addressing and other factors. Asus, Belkin, Buffalo, D-Link, and NetGear are all part of this first wave of branding.