Last updated: February 26, 2012 9:38 pm

Intel pushes back launch of processor

Intel expects its next-generation microprocessors to go on sale eight to 10 weeks later than initially planned, according to Sean Maloney, executive vice-president of Intel and chairman of Intel China.

In his first interview to discuss Intel’s business in China, Mr Maloney told the Financial Times that the start of sales of machines equipped with Ivy Bridge – the 22nm processor set to succeed Sandy Bridge in notebooks this year – had been pushed back from April. “I think maybe it’s June now,” he said.

Mr Maloney said the adjustment was not caused by a lack of demand but came because of the new manufacturing process needed to make the smaller chips.

An Intel spokesperson said the company’s plans to start shipping Ivy Bridge in the second quarter had not changed.

Mr Maloney also said the global launch of a series of Intel-powered smartphones would follow the launch in China of the first such handset – a Lenovo phone – in April. He said the Intel-powered Lenovo phone would become available in other countries four to five months after its China launch.

The comments come after Lenovo said last month it intended to push sales of its smartphones in emerging markets outside China this year. Lenovo is China’s largest leading Android phone brand.

Mr Maloney had been viewed as the most likely candidate to succeed Paul Otellini when he steps down as chief executive in 2015, but this career prospect is now less clear after he suffered a stroke in early 2010. Mr Maloney took over as Intel China chairman in July last year, a newly-created position through which the company hopes to give the Chinese market more weight.

China is expected to surpass the US as the world’s largest PC market by unit shipments this year, according to IDC, and the country is already the world’s largest market for mobile phones by unit shipments, a segment which Intel is currently pushing into with its Medfield processor for smartphones and tablets.

“I think give it two or three years, and all phones in China will be smartphones, because the cost is going to be way way down,” he said.

He also emphasised the Chinese server market as a source of strong growth. “First off, it’s not really an emerging market. It’s emerged. Secondly, it’s just the same at the server side. Ali Baba, Baidu, they all want the same servers as Facebook, and really the notebooks are as advanced as anywhere,” he said.

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