A while back, I started working on a big mobile computing round-up. I was going to look at x86 mobile processors, and corral the morass of product names, specs and architectures into something like a coherent picture. Ha! What a mess! Intel's mobile product line alone is such a hopelessly confused rat's nest of branding and labelling that I gave up on trying to piece it all together in a way that would be readable, much less compelling.

Nevertheless, one fortunate side effect of the whole exercise, which mainly involved trying to make sense of the various overlapping ways that Intel uses the letter "M" in combination with the words "Pentium" and "Celeron", was that I began to take a closer look at the processor that's at the heart of Intel's Centrino platform: the Pentium M. Known for a while by its codename, Banias, the Pentium M represents the first "new" architecture from Intel since the P4's Netburst.