Intel's Centrino update in short supply

Intel's notebook PC customers are feeling the pinch of supply constraints as the company rolls out its new Sonoma technology.

Intel has been unable to keep up with demand for Sonoma, its notebook technology introduced in January, according to a company spokesperson.

"We are pleased with customer demand for Pentium M processors and Mobile Intel 915 chipsets," the spokesperson said. "And as a result of strong demand, we are somewhat lean on Sonoma component inventory."

Sonoma is the code name for the latest update to Intel's Centrino package of notebook technology. It includes the Pentium M processor, the AIviso chipset, and the Intel Pro/Wireless chip for 802.11 Wi-Fi networks. This new revision improved the speed at which data moves between components in the chipset, and added support for faster memory.

Intel has said it expected to shift its notebook customers to the Sonoma platform by the end of 2005, and several major notebooks manufacturers around the world have released systems with the new technology.

The supply constraints should be fixed by the end of the quarter as the company raised production levels, the Intel spokesperson said.

Intel's inventory levels were quite volatile in 2004. In the third quarter, the company announced it would cut back on production based on weaker-than-expected demand for its chips combined with higher-than-expected yields from its new 90-nanometre processing technology.

That situation had reversed by the end of the year.

Intel CFO, Andy Bryant, said recntly that supply was more constricted than he would like due to stronger-than-expected demand.

(Paul Kallender in Tokyo contributed to this report.)

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