Intel Confirms Delay of Next-Generation Mobile Platform

Intel’s Sonoma to See the Light of Day in 2005

by Anton Shilov
07/19/2004 | 04:54 AM

Intel Corp. confirmed Monday earlier reports about postponement of the company’s forthcoming mobile platform code-named Sonoma. The Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker will launch its consumer-oriented incarnation of Intel Centrino mobile technology only in 2005, not in 2004, as planned.


Sonoma Delay Now Official

The official statement from Intel came after a number of web-sites reported about the problems with Alviso – the core-logic, or the main component of every platform, that is behind the Sonoma – which were likely to push the commercial introduction of the new Centrino flavour forward.

“Our plans changed just this past week, and we are still in the midst of letting our customers know about our updated plans for the formal intro date. While we still plan to ship the platform in the second half of this year, the formal industry launch will now be targeted for early 2005,” Intel’s spokeswoman Barbara T. Grimes told X-bit labs.

The spokeswoman did not elaborate on the reason behind the delay of the highly-anticipated platform. Earlier some unofficial sources said that silicon for the chipset “did not meet Intel’s production standards”.

The delay of mobile platform that sported PCI Express bus along with DDR2 memory are unlikely to scrap the plans of graphics chips and memory makers, as they will ship their components for revenue along with Intel. Nevertheless, both graphics chip developers and memory makers are likely to sell less new components because of Intel’s plans change.


Plans Shifts Chase Intel?


It is not the first time for Intel to delay releases of its mobile products. 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 original Pentium M processor code-named Banias also faced a setback. The chip began to ship for revenue in late 2002, but was only officially introduced in March 2003.


Sonoma – Consumer-Oriented Mobile Platform


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.