Intel delays Centrino 2 launch over chipset issues

Intel will delay the launch of its upcoming Centrino 2 platform for laptop computers by nearly two months to resolve issues related to the chipset and the antenna used with the wireless chipset.

Centrino 2, also called Montevina, is the next version of Intel’s popular Centrino platform for laptops and was previously slated for a June launch. Computer makers are now expected to begin shipping laptops based on new mobile processors to retail shops in July, with the launch of Centrino 2 scheduled for the first week of August, said Elvin Ong, an Intel spokesman in Singapore.

The Centrino 2 platform includes new Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme Mobile processors, as well as an updated chipset with integrated graphics. On the wireless side, Centrino 2’s will offer support for Wi-Fi, and WiMax is being offered as an option. The new processors will now ship on July 14, but the wireless and graphics chipsets that complete the Centrino 2 package won’t be ready until early August, Intel said.

“We are taking the extra days to address two issues that require us to re-screen our chipsets with integrated graphics, and attend to some terms-and-conditions mistakes while filing and testing our wireless antennas,” Ong said, adding that Intel expects Centrino 2 laptops to be available in time for the crucial back-to-school selling season.

Ong declined to detail the chipset issues that require Intel to re-screen these products, but said the move was necessary to insure the quality of the product. “We are not going to ship a sub-par product into the market,” he said.

There is no problem with the processors used in Centrino 2, Ong said, calling these chips “healthy.”

Nevertheless, the Centrino 2 delay is an embarassing setback for Intel. In recent quarters, the chip maker has released new products with clock-like precision, putting behind it memories of missteps that gave rival Advanced Micro Devices an opportunity to gain market share in recent years.

News of the Centrino 2 delay comes just days before AMD is expected to unveil its upcoming Puma laptop platform. That launch, which is scheduled to take place at the Computex exhibition in Taipei next week, will include the announcement of around 100 different laptops based on Puma.

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