Intel's new "Santa Rosa" laptop platform will appear in the first half of next year, bringing with it more processing power, a longer battery life and improved wireless, the company said.

The successor to its hugely popular Centrino chipset, Santa Rosa is effectively an upgrade with a more efficient version of the "Merom" Core 2 Duo chip and "Crestline" ICH8M chipset.

The company will also make the Santa Rosa laptops start up faster by adding to the current memory with a NAND flash-based disk cache, said general manager of Intel's mobility group Dadi Perlmutte. Compared with a Centrino PC, that "Robson" technology will allow future notebooks to load applications twice as fast and wake up from a hibernation state twice as fast.

For wireless connectivity, the new notebooks will use the pending 802.11n standard, capable of streaming data at 300Mbit/s, five times faster than the current 802.11g, Perlmutter said.

To support users until 802.11n is officially approved, Intel has arranged an inter-operability program with access point vendors including Buffalo, D-Link, Linksys and Netgear. Intel will also deliver embedded 3G wireless WAN technology from Nokia.

"But the jewel of the crown for wireless connectivity is WiMax," Perlmutter said. Intel plans to deliver an integrated WiFi and WiMax chip by 2008. WiMax is a metropolitan-area wireless technology designed to deliver at least 1Mbit/s of data and in some cases much more. The company's WiMax plan will be supported by a commitment from service providers Sprint and Clearwire to start building mobile WiMax networks in 2007 and provide commercial service by 2008.