No AMD tablets any time soon

Written by Alex Watson

June 2, 2010 // 12:27 p.m.

Tags: #amd #arm #atom #computex-2010 #culv #intel #netbook #tablet #vision #x86

Computex 2010: We have to admit that it wasn’t just the prospect of talking about Fusion that got us along to AMD’s capacious stand – there was also the prospect of playing Dirt 2 on a five-sceen Eyefinity rig. Even better, AMD had the screens running in portrait, minimising the bezel issues that spoiled our enjoyment of Eyefinity when we last tested it.

After we’d entertained the crowds by trashing our car across six screens, we sat down with Leslie Sobon, AMD’s Vice President of Product and Platform Marketing and Phil Hughes, AMD’s Senior Manager of PR. As this year’s event is more Compupad than Computex, we started discussing tablets.

There won’t be an AMD tablet this holiday season,” Sobon told us, “we’re happy to be a fast follower in that space - the bulk of the [mobile] market is still 14in devices.” As far as AMD is concerned, targeting low power devices such as phones, slates, pads, pebbles and whatever else you want to call them, would be a big distraction – AMD sees its main opportunity for growth is to bring the fight to Intel and take some of its marketshare.

One area where AMD could certainly stand to take some of Intel’s customers is when it comes to netbooks, an area completely dominated by Intel’s Atom and CULV. Again Sobon used the “fast follower” phrase to describe AMD’s approach, saying that “those machines were called netbooks because they didn’t let you do all the things a laptop did. With Fusion, what you’ll see from AMD is that they will, so maybe it will be time to redefine the term and your expectations.

There’s one key area where AMD and Intel agree though – we’ve heard it from Intel and we heard it from AMD: it’s going to be easier to reduce x86’s power demands than to scale up ARM’s performance.

Both Sobon and Hughes seemed pleased at the launch of Vision, its attempt to simplify laptop technology for mainstream consumers. While AMD didn’t have new products to show, the company’s plans appear to be falling into place – the Global Foundries spin-off is going well, while we also got a look at the first Fusion wafer. Sadly no photos were allowed.

What do you think about AMD’s characterisation of itself as a fast follower? Does it make sense, or should it be more ambitious? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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