AMD today announced that the first laptops based on its mobile Athlon XP processor will begin shipping in Europe and Japan early in May. For a refreshing change, it's not yet known when notebooks based on the new chip would be available in the USA.

AMD began shipments of the 1400+ and 1500+ versions of the processor during the first quarter. Notebooks based on the 1600+ and 1700+ versions of the processor are expected to be available later this quarter, it said.

Those first notebooks based on the mobile AMD Athlon XP processor are expected to ship in Japan from Sharp. The company will release its Mebius PC-GP1-C7H notebook on 1 May, the firm said today.

Based on the 1400+ version of the chip the machine includes 256MB of memory and a 40GB hard disk drive.

Sharp's release of the PC-GP1-C7H will be followed later this quarter by notebooks from NEC's Packard Bell division, which plans to ship notebooks based on the chip in Europe, according to AMD.

The mobile Athlon XP is AMD's first processor manufactured using a 0.13-micron process rather than the 0.18-micron process the company uses to produce other versions of its Athlon processor line. The more advanced production process allows the production of smaller chips that consume less power, run faster and cost less.

The new chips add support for a 266MHz front-side bus. A low-power version of the mobile AMD Athlon XP processor is sampling [in pre-production] now, AMD said.