Pentium M chips may face supply problems

Some manufacturers have already sold out of their Centrino-based laptops in China due to tight supplies of Intel's new mobile processor, according to a report

Some resellers in China are having trouble getting supplies of laptop computers based on Intel's new Centrino group of chips, according to a report. Demand has been high for the new technology as a result of good reviews and an intensive marketing campaign by Intel, in the UK and elsewhere.

Samsung, Acer and Asustek Computer have all had trouble supplying Centrino laptops to their Chinese resellers, due to the tight supply of the Pentium M processor, according to a report in the Taiwanese industry journal Digitimes. The Pentium M is one component of Centrino, which also includes a chipset and integrated Wi-Fi wireless LAN.

The group of chips is designed to deliver longer battery life for wireless notebooks, which Intel sees as a major selling point for future portables. It is the first time Intel has delivered chips designed especially for laptops rather than customising a desktop chip instead.

Samsung was only able to supply 500 units to China, and Acer 200 units, according to the report. Samsung's Chinese reseller has already sold all the units. Intel is denying any suggestion that the Pentium M is not being manufactured in full production quantities.

In the UK, demand has been high because of heavy advertising for the new Centrino brand, according to Northamber, a major wholesaler. Intel said it spent $300m, or about £190m, on the Centrino campaign.

Northamber said that although it had only started selling Centrino products in the last couple of weeks, it was clear that they would eventually take over from traditional Intel notebooks. "We have been seeing quite high demand. Our customers want to know what they are first. Resellers are never afraid to ask questions," a representative said.

The company said that it had not seen unusual delays for Centrino laptops in the UK so far.

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