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Growth in the sales of laptops is set to continue to outpace that of desktop PCs after Intel on Wednesday launched chips that will boost the performance, graphics and battery life of mobile computers.

The world’s biggest chipmaker said more than 230 laptops had been designed for new versions of its Centrino chips, which would be available this year.

Mooly Eden, vice-president of Intel’s Mobile Products Group, said the industry had been surprised by the growth of the laptop market.

Gartner, the research firm, forecast two years ago that 73m laptops would be sold in 2007, but sales of 102m are expected this year. Shipments are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 19 per cent until the end of 2011.

In contrast, sales in the more mature desktop market are expected to increase by only 4 per cent a year worldwide. Less than half as many laptops were shipped as desktops in 2005, but the IDC research firm expects the gap to have closed to 177m desktops shipped in 2010, compared with 159m laptops.

Intel introduced two new brands on Wednesday – Centrino Duo and Centrino Pro for consumers and business users. The Centrino Duo includes Core 2 Duo processors – its first dual-core processors optimised for laptops.

A new graphics chipset will enable smooth high-definition video and wireless chips will meet the latest 802.11n standard, expected to be finalised shortly.

Intel announced other features including the introduction of flash memory, which will cut start-up times for laptops by 20 per cent.

Mr Eden said the latest launch of Centrino chips would offer 44 per cent better performance than last year’s releases.

Centrino Pro laptops will feature management tools that will help IT departments fix and monitor employees’ laptops remotely.

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