Chip giant Intel has confirmed that its next-generation microprocessors, code-named Ivy Bridge, will arrive around two months later than initially planned.

Delays have been rumoured for some time, amid speculation that the economic crisis has led to a slump in notebook sales, with several of Intel's top-tier notebook vendors unable to get rid of their Sandy Bridge notebook inventories.

However, speaking to The Financial Times, the company's executive vice-president Sean Maloney said that the delay was not caused by a lack of demand, but because of the new manufacturing process needed to make the smaller chips.

Originally scheduled for an April launch, mass shipments of Ivy Bridge – the processor set to succeed Intel's Sandy Bridge microarchitecture, currently used in Core i3, i5 and i7 chips – will begin eight to ten weeks later than initially planned, according to Maloney. Intel said that the company was on target to start shipping Ivy Bridge “in the second quarter”.

The most notable difference between the Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge processors is that Intel is building the next generation CPUs using 22nm architecture – a nearly 30 percent drop in size from the existing 32nm chips. Ivy Bridge CPUs will consume less power and make more room for the integrated graphics chip, allowing Intel to boost the graphics processing capabilities bt up to 60 percent. They will also support Microsoft DirectX 11.

The news comes as mobile operator Orange launches the first Intel-based smartphone, called Santa Clara, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Today, ARM-based processors dominate among smartphones and tablets, but Intel is putting a lot of resources on getting a slice of this growing market. The Santa Clara has an Intel Atom Z2460 processor at 1.6 GHz and runs Android OS.

“It's always good to have competition, because it gives consumers more choice. It also allows technology to improve faster, and at the end of the day when you have competition it also has an impact on pricing,” said Yves Maitre, vice president for Devices at Orange Group.