Intel Finally Ships Centrino 2 -- and the Delay Hurts

Last Updated Jul 15, 2008 3:28 PM EDT

Intel Core 2 Duo processorIntel has finally launched its Centrino 2 processor targeting the notebook market with some significant appeal:
  • processor speeds from 2.26GHz to 3.06GHz, otherwise known as fast
  • 25 watt power consumption rather than the usual 35 watts, for cooler operation with longer battery life (and maybe the ability to watch an entire DVD without the charger)
  • DDR3 memory for faster performance
  • 802.11N wireless for better wireless performance
  • a new graphics chipset, the GMA X4500, and the ability to switch between integrated graphics for battery-friendly operation and the more battery intensive discrete graphics that gamers like
But wiping the tech stardust from the eyes, one might look at things a bit more coolly. Nothing is shipping until August, which means goodbye for this year to the back-to-school rush, because laptop manufacturers can announce as many Centrino 2-based models as they like, but if they don't have the chip, they cannot ship.
The delay could become a big problem for PC makers, who already are nervous about global consumer sales in the wake of high oil prices and increasing inflation on core goods. In the interim, some may take advantage of chip rival Advanced Micro Devices new notebook platform, dubbed Puma. It, too, combines a mobile processor with integrated graphics garnered from AMD's acquisition of ATI.
Although Intel has blamed the delay on getting an FCC certification for the 802.11N support and problems with the integrated graphics, my bet is that the 45nm semiconductor manufacturing process problems have been an ongoing contributor.

Intel's delay could put AMD in the way of increased revenue, which will be good for the competitor, as the company has just taken an $880 million charge to write off some of the ATI acquisition.

Intel Core 2 Duo processor image courtesy of Intel Corporation And now a message from our sponsor: Like what you've read here? Hate it? Think BNET can be better? Let us know! Email us directly, or take the Help Us Build a Better BNET poll on BNET Intercom.

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    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.