Intel Corp. released its tri-mode 802.11a/b/g Centrino wireless module late last week, missing its own estimates and severely lagging behind its competitors by as much as two years. Intel’s original Centrino technology hit the scene in March of 2003. The 802.11b wireless product was followed by a backward-compatible 802.11g version in October of that year.
At that point, Intel had fallen behind competitors Atheros, Conexant, and Broadcom, but had claimed its hold up was because the IEEE had only released its 802.11g 54Mbit standard that quarter.
The severely delayed tri-mode news was expected by company execs from Intel in early 2004, with some analysts going so far as to say Intel would run with an -a supplement as early as September 2003. Now, choking on its fellow Wi-Fi players’ dust, the company has joined the a/b/g party. But will its lateness matter?