Intel to launch vPro desktop bundle on September 7

Intel will announce that PC vendors are now taking orders for vPro-enabled desktops, say sources

Intel is set to announce next week that Hewlett-Packard and other vendors are ready to ship the chip company's vPro technology bundle in business desktops, according to sources.

Intel first announced the vPro system in April, when executives described the benefits of this combination of hardware and software. A desktop PC with vPro technologies will offer lower IT maintenance costs, higher security and better energy efficiency than the average business desktop, Intel says.

The linchpin of the system is the "Conroe" Core 2 Duo desktop chip, launched in July. Intel combines that processor with a chipset and networking card, then uses Active Management Technology (AMT) and hardware-based virtualisation to make it more efficient.

The bundle is also expected to include network management tools from Altiris and security tools from Symantec.

On the 7 September, Intel will announce that PC vendors are now taking orders for vPro-enabled desktops, and that beta customers are ready to testify to the cost savings they've achieved, say sources who requested anonymity.

HP may release the news a day earlier, since that company has planned a press conference in New York City, on September 6, to unveil a new line of business desktop PCs, featuring enhancements to manage the configuration of PCs throughout a medium-sized organisation.

The news is important for struggling Intel, which is in the midst of layoffs and cost-cutting after missing earnings targets in recent quarters.

VPro will be Intel's third technology bundle after the popular Centrino system for wireless laptops and the Viiv system for entertainment and media PCs. Together, those three products will account for 25% of Intel's revenue in 2006, CEO Paul Otellini said in an April meeting.

To capitalise on that success, Intel plans to add three improvements to the vPro system in 2007. The company will spread it from desktops to notebooks; upgrade the processor from a dual-core to quad-core chip; and extend virtualisation from the processor to the hard drive and I/O channels.

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