On Wednesday, Intel posted a statement on their website explaining how their branding will look in the future; as CNET reports, the hardware company will be splitting their Core CPU range into three categories: i3, i5 and i7, each different tiers of performance.
As you can imagine, the new Core i3 range will be the lower performance, the i5 will be mid-range, and the i7 will be reserved for maximum speed. Intel spokesman Bill Calder did say, however, that, "[it is] important to note that these are not brands but modifiers to the Intel Core brand that signal different features and benefits." The upcoming desktop chip, code-named Lynnfield, will fit into either the i5 or i7 category, according to CNET, and the Clarksfield mobile chip will be an i7 CPU.
In the same announcement, Intel revealed that the Centrino brand will be phased out; it will now be used for Wi-Fi and WiMAX. It's worth noting that computers will still be available with Centrino brand processors next year, but they aren't far off from being discontinued. So, this aside, when should this new branding be ready for use? The vice president and director of corporate marketing at Intel, Deborah Conrad, said, ""In the back half of this year you'll begin to see Core i5 and more Core i7s coming to market. Then by the first part of next year you'll begin to see Core i3, and i5, i7. Then the old names will get retired as those products get phased out."
To finish their announcement, Intel mentioned other branding too, saying, "We will still have Celeron for entry-level computing at affordable price points, Pentium for basic computing, and of course the Intel Atom processor for all these new devices ranging from netbooks to smartphones. or PC purchasing, think in terms of good-better-best with Celeron being good, Pentium better, and the Intel Core family representing the best we have to offer. We are focusing our strategy around a primary 'hero' client brand which is Intel Core. Today the Intel Core brand has a mind boggling array of derivatives (such as Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad, etc). Over time those will go away and in its place will be a simplified family of Core processors."
Be prepared to see a lot of branding of Intel products shift around over the next year or two, with older products still available at the same time as new ones.