Intel Corp. has pushed back the release of its next-generation Centrino mobile platform, aka “Sonoma,” according to sources close to the company. The chip set was originally slated for shipment in the second half of the year, and most industry watchers expected its release earlier than later.
The issue concerns the “Alviso” chip set, part of the Sonoma platform, which comprises the currently-shipping Pentium M processor, code-name Dothan; the Alviso chip set; and its latest wireless module. Sources said Intel will book the Alviso for revenue this year, and push the bulk of its shipments until early 2005. Intel will also launch the platform in early 2005.
Intel began contacting its customers on Friday about the glitch, whose nature was not described. The “silicon did not meet Intels standards for quality,” one source said.
The Sonoma platform has been described as “Centrino 2”, the next-generation mobile platform and both its Dothan processor and Intels PRO/Wireless 2200BG component are now shipping.
The Alviso chip set contains a number of advances for mobile computers. In a road map briefing, the company said the chip set will offer support for new DDR-II memory, Serial ATA storage, and the code-name Azalia standard for 24-bit 7.1 surround sound.
Alviso also will provide a connector for a light meter that computer makers can install on the logicboard. The technology will let the chip set dim the screens backlight automatically to save power in daylight operation.
Intel declined to comment on the delay.
The glitch is but the latest in a short burst of manufacturing issues for Intel. Most recently, a glitch in one component of Intels Grantsdale chip set caused affected PCs to lock up or fail to boot. That component controlled some of Grantsdales new features, including the circuitry to turn the computer into a wireless access point. Intel has delayed support for this capability.
Still the company has had some manufacturing successes—only to be penalized by the markets expectations. Intels shift to 90-nanometer manufacturing processes has proceeded better than expected, boosting the output of its manufacturing lines, Intel executives said in conjunction with its latest earnings report. That success, however, also grew Intels on-hand stock of microprocessors, forcing the company to slow production later this year to deplete its inventory levels.