AMD rejects smartphone market

Written by Clive Webster

February 18, 2011 // 1:41 p.m.

Tags: #amd #apu #bulldozer #fusion #llano-bobcat #plan #release-date #roadmap #smartphone #tablet #vs-sandy-bridge

AMD's temporary CEO Thomas Seifert has dismissed any rumours that AMD may be developing a chip for the smartphone market, categorically stating that the company is 'not developing a baseband [telephone] chip and this is a clear statement.'

According to PC Magazine, Seifert made the comment at the Goldman Sachs Internet and Technology Conference on Wednesday, during which he confirmed that AMD ‘has no plans to enter the smartphone space .

With AMD's management overhaul out of the way – previous CEO Dirk Meyer and two other board members have now left – Thomas Seifert has now stepped up as AMD's temporary CEO, and he used this first public appearance to outline a few of the company’s plans for 2011 and 2012.

As well as his comments about the smartphone market, Seifert also revealed that ‘AMD will transistion to Llano in the second quarter.’ Llano is AMD’s desktop APU - a new CPU design that incorporates a DirectX 11 GPU into the same piece of silicon. Interestingly, Seifert also claims that this chip architecture is ‘vastly superior' to Intel’s Sandy Bridge CPUs.

While Seifert discussed a demonstration of a quad-core Llano APU running at 1.8GHz, a representative from AMD told PC Mag that ‘Seifert did not mean to imply that that was the speed that Llano would run at.’ This is a shame, as a 1.8GHz processor that could match the epic performance of a 3GHz+ Sandy Bridge CPU really would be exciting. Either way, Seifert reportedly also confirmed that AMD is sampling its next-generation Bulldozer core now, with a view to shipping chips for consumer PCs in the early summer, with server chips arriving later in the summer.

According to Seifert, the server market is still very profitable, noting that it's important 'not to be distracted from where those opportunities are.’ As such, we can also expect AMD to push Bulldozer-based APUs for servers and workstations. As AMD seems keen to shed its brand names, these new APUs might not use the familiar Opteron name either.

Seifert also outlined AMD’s plans for tablets, the 2011 equivalent of the netbook craze, which some have suggested is the issue that resulted in Meyer's downfall. Seifert said that ‘usage models had shifted the market in favor of AMD, including 3D graphics and higher overall performance,’ which sounds encouraging. However, he tempered this by adding that ‘AMD's customers may prefer to wait until the second-generation APU products coming next year before AMD can address a significant amount of those form factors… But some tablet makers are buying AMD chips now.

Acer has announced the first Windows-based tablet using a Bobcat APU. However, as Acer also has Nvidia Tegra 2-powered Android tablets and Intel Core i5-powered Windows tablets, this seems to be part of an ‘all bases covered’ approach, rather than particular enthusiasm for AMD’s hardware.

Via The Tech Report's Pluto Day Shortbread.

Are you encouraged by AMD’s plans? Has the Sandy Bridge chipset flaw prompted you to wait until the Llano launch before upgrading? Let us know in the forums.
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