Centrino sounds like the name of a new Italian-inspired drink at Starbucks(Nasdaq: SBUX), but it's actually a major new product from Intel(Nasdaq: INTC) to be announced March 12.

For the first time, Intel will launch a bundle of products under one name, so it has a considerable stake in seeing Centrino succeed. The new product bundles a wireless local area network (WLAN) module, chipset, and processor for portable computers. Together, the product makes it possible to access high-speed wireless Internet over the Wi-Fi wireless network service, formally called 802.11b technology.

Wi-Fi is proliferating before our eyes, although we can't see it. Starbucks has begun to offer Wi-Fi in some locations, and hotels are signing large Wi-Fi contracts. Hotel management reports that Wi-Fi is becoming a determining factor in where business customers stay.

Today, Marriott International(NYSE: MAR) announced a co-marketing agreement with Intel to promote new Wi-Fi services at 400 hotels in the United States, Europe, and Canada. Access in U.S. Marriott hotels will cost $2.95 for the first 15 minutes, and $0.25 each additional minute.

We expect Wi-Fi prices to steadily decline (many businesses already offer it without charge). Therefore, the related product producers, such as Intel, are likely to be superior investments over the connection and network suppliers. Intel hopes that Wi-Fi will lead to greater sales of portable computers -- and big sales of Centrino. Intel has Wi-Fi partnerships with AT&T(NYSE: T) and IBM(NYSE: IBM).

Jeff Fischer owns shares of Intel.