Intel reaffirmed its Nehalem family of processors is on track to enter production during the fourth quarter, with the first mobile version of the chips to be released next year.

Nehalem is a microarchitecture that will eventually replace the Core microarchitecture used in the company's current product line, and will initially be manufactured using the same 45-nanometre process that's currently used to produce Intel's top-line Penryn family of chips. The first Nehalem chips that get released will be designed for servers and high-end desktops.

Nehalem processors will have from two to eight cores and include up to 8MB of level 3 cache.

During 2009, Intel plans to ship a mobile version of the Nehalem processor as part of Calpella, the code name for a future version of Centrino 2. Formerly called Montevina, Centrino 2 is set to be released in June and will offer WiMax connectivity as an option alongside Wi-Fi.

When exactly during 2009 the mobile version of Nehalem will arrive is not yet clear. Intel typically makes two changes to its Centrino platform each year, introducing a new version during the middle of the year, usually late in the second quarter or during the third quarter. That release is then followed by a 'refresh' early the following year that allows the chip maker to introduce new mobile processors to the platform, as it did in January by refreshing the current Santa Rosa version of Centino with the first mobile Penryn processors.

That may not happen with the mobile Nehalem chips. Intel spokesman Elvin Ong declined to say whether or not the company is planning an intermediate step between the introduction of Montevina in June and the release of Calpella sometime next year.

Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobility Group, is expected to discuss Montevina during a keynote speech today at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Shanghai. Besides adding WiMax support for the first time, he also planned to discuss options for smaller components that will reduce the size required for Montevina, and make it suitable for small laptops.

Perlmutter will also announce an anti-theft technology for laptops that will be released later this year, but is not expected to discuss specifics of the technology, Intel said.