For the second time this year, Intel ( INTC) will delay the rollout of a new chip. An Intel representative Monday confirmed a report in The Wall Street Journal that its new mobile chipset, code-named Alviso, will hit the market early in 2005 rather than in the fourth quarter of this year as initially planned. Spokesman Tom Beermann said Intel began informing customers last week that the chip would be delayed, but he added the delay will not cause a material financial impact to Intel. Missing the Christmas season will not hurt sales much because the chipsets are intended to be used primarily in high-end notebooks for businesses, rather than for the broader consumer market, he said. Beermann said Intel "is not going into a lot of detail" on the reasons behind the delay, saying only that it involved "some technical combined with some marketing issues." At the beginning of 2004 Intel caught some flak for delaying Dothan, its Pentium M notebook processor, by one quarter. In a more recent misstep, in late June glitches forced it to recall its much-touted Grantsdale chipset, resulting in a $38 million hit to its second-quarter earnings. But analysts largely shrugged off the latest delay, and the stock wasn't affected by the news, recently rising 15 cents or 0.7% to $22.88. Ambrish Srivastava of Harris Nesbitt said he viewed the delay as an incremental setback, noting that it's not terribly unusual for a chip to hit the market slightly off the planned schedule. "There has been chatter for a while in the industry circuits that this could be delayed," he said. "My two cents is that it's not a big deal in the whole scheme of things," agreed Hans Mosesmann of Schwab Soundview. "The notebook guys have basically spring and fall product introductions and if Intel misses this very small window they might as well push it out."
A chipset is often compared to the central nervous system that works with the microprocessor, or brain of a piece of silicon. The Alviso chipset will be paired with Intel's Dothan microprocessor to create the Sonoma mobile platform, which will offer PCI Express, an interconnect standard that allows for faster data transmissions between the microprocessor and the rest of the PC, high definition audio, DDR2 memory and wireless LAN compatible with the A, B and G standards.