Intel May Push New Centrino Incarnation Forward into 2005

@ 2004/06/17
Intel Corporation may reportedly postpone the commercial release of its code-named Sonoma platform – the next-generation incarnation of Centrino platform that has been around since March 2003. The delay of the platform may be caused by the company’s reported inability to ship the new chipset code-named Alviso on time.

An article at DigiTimes web-site claims that the release date of the Sonoma and Alviso products may be pushed forward to the first quarter of 2005 from the fourth quarter of 2004. In case the information is correct, this will be the second postponement of the platform since it emerged in the roadmap of the chip giant.

Sonoma – Special Platform for Consumers

Intel’s code-named Alviso core-logic is expected to support dual-channel DDR2 SDRAM memory to improve performance tangibly compared to current mobile platforms. Additionally, certain incarnations of the Alviso are likely to feature 533MHz processor system bus to partner with the upcoming Intel Pentium M “Dothan” processors that will get PSB boost late this year.

Intel said that the Sonoma platform primarily targets the consumers, while the initial Centrino incarnation addressed the needs of business and enterprise users, who are not much interested in loads of multimedia capabilities, but are more concentrated on battery life and wireless LAN capability.

In order to offer more advantages to consumers, Intel said its next-generation mobile core-logic – Alviso – will enable PCI Express interconnections in notebooks, allowing installation of powerful mobile graphics add-in cards, such as ATI AXIOM and NVIDIA MXM, designed specifically for this bus.

In order to complete the transition of the mobile technologies to the most-advanced level, Intel is also projected to add support for Serial ATA-150 to the upcoming ICH6-M and bring advanced Azalia audio to its “Sonoma” Mobile Internet PC 2004 Platform enabling Dolby-Digital 7.1 and high-quality audio on such kind of PCs. Additionally, expect the new platform to support NEWCARD, as well as new and even more effective power-saving (EBL’04) and security features, such as biometrics.

As a part of its “Sonoma” Mobile Internet PC 2004 Platform (Centrino 2004), Intel also plans to launch an 802.11g/Bluetooth solution with improved Bluetooth audio quality while using WLAN. The company’s longer-term plans are to enable 802.11a/b/g, Bluetooth and GSM-GPRS co-existence on the same mobile platform.

Delays Chase Intel

The Santa Clara, California-based semiconductor maker faced numerous setbacks with its latest desktop, server and mobile offerings.

Intel’s current flagship mobile offering – the Pentium M “Dothan” – was once planned to launch in mid-2003, but then delayed to Fall 2003, after which faced push into Q1 2004. Finally, the chip was released commercially in the second quarter of 2004.

The Sonoma platform was originally scheduled for the second half of this year, but then it was précised that the platform will emerge only in the fourth quarter. In case the current report is correct, the Sonoma and Alviso will only make it to the market next year instead of this year

Intel representative did not return call for comment by press time.

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