The Centrino 2 laptop platform may be fresh out of the fab. But that hasn't prevented Intel from giving us a tantalising glimpse of its next Centrino platform at IDF today.

Details of what will very likely be dubbed Centrino 3 remain thin on the ground. We know the new platform is codenamed Calpella and due next year.

To prove that all is well with Calpella, Intel had an engineering platform up and running on the main keynote stand. There was no talk of benchmark performance numbers or operating frequencies.

Notebooks ready

However, there are plenty of reasons to suspect that Calpella will deliver a revolution in notebook performance and efficiency.

One key feature will be the newly revealed Turbo Mode offered by the Nehalem processor that forms the heart of Calpella. Turbo Mode enables individual cores to be entirely powered down.

On the desktop, that's handy because it allows a single core to be cranked up to deliver maximum single-threaded performance.

Perfect compromise

But for mobile systems it promises the perfect compromise between performance and efficiency. It should allow Intel to produce a quad-core CPU that can mimic single and dual-core processors when running on battery power.

As we know, Nehalem will also be available with a graphics core integrated into the CPU package itself. That should also offer significant packaging and further efficiency advantages.

As good as Centrino 2 is proving to be, Centrino 3 looks like it will be even better.