Go Wireless, It’s on Intel

Intel will offer free Wi-Fi access via thousands of U.S. hotspots during a Sept. 25 publicity event dubbed One Unwired Day.

In addition, the Santa Clara, Calif., company will sponsor “festivals” in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle, with live music, product demonstrations and drawings for laptops, wireless home networking products and access cards.

Machines with Centrino chips will also be at those sites for users who do not already have Wi-Fi enabled laptops or personal digital assistants.

“Those cities offer great cross section of mobile professionals as well as a large number of hotspots,” Intel marketing manager Michael Buerchner told internetnews.com.

Co-sponsors include other companies interested in increasing the number of Wi-Fi users, including access point operators, hardware and software vendors, service providers and content producers.

Among them are: Cometa Networks, IBM, MUSICMATCH, Panasonic Computer Solutions Company, PC Club, SurfHere Service by Toshiba, T-Mobile USA, Toshiba, Verizon and Warner Bros. Records/Reprise Records.

Buerchner declined to detail the terms of the agreements with co-sponsors.

The event, which will be supported by a mult-media marketing blitz, is reminiscent of the activities surrounding the launch of Centrino in March, when Intel hired 75 people to fan out over Manhattan to educate workers about mobile Internet access. Advertising for that launch cost about $300 million.

The events culminated in an evening concert by pop group Barenaked Ladies back at Hammerstein Ballroom, tickets for which were given away at computer stores. (Barenaked Ladies was not new to Intel: The band played Bryant Park to celebrate the launch of the Pentium IV mobile processor in April 2002.)

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