Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) will try to confuse us less in the future. Problem is, I think they'll end up confusing us more instead. That's not a good idea.
"The fact of the matter is, 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 in the process," says Intel spokesman Bill Calder in a blog post that reads like a press release. "All that is about to change."
A change is surely needed. Consumers or IT managers who wants to buy an Intel chip today can choose among Celerons, Pentiums, Core 2, and Core i7 processors. Some are single-core, some dual, and some have four processing cores. And then they come in different processor speeds, with small or large cache memory, etc cetera.
If the last paragraph made your eyes glaze over, you are not alone. It takes a hardcore geek to make sense of any of it.
OK, so Intel wants to simplify. But how? "We are focusing our strategy around a primary 'hero' client brand which is Intel(r) Core(tm)," Calder says (trademark signs and all). So there will be a single primary brand, which is Intel Core. It'll come in flavors like i3, i5, and i7, which are "modifiers," not brands. Future chips based on the same architecture "will carry the Intel Core brand, but will be available as either Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 depending upon the feature set and capability."
Is the Intel Core i5 appropriate for servers, desktops, or laptops? What's the difference between i5 and i7? Still bewildering, and the Celeron, Pentium, and Atom brands aren't going away, either.
Can somebody tell me how this is less confusing than the old conventions? I'm a geek, and my head is spinning.
To be fair, Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD ) isn't doing much better. You need a decoder ring to figure out the difference between an Athlon 64 X2 and a Phenom II X4.
I fear that this new confusion will turn buyers off rather than pulling them in. Someone from Dell (Nasdaq: DELL ) should give Intel's marketing people a stern talking to, or maybe Best Buy (NYSE: BBY ) can lend a hand and tell them what consumers actually understand. Intel's shenanigans may end up hurting their sales.