NOT TO BE UPSTAGED in the much-hyped tablet market, AMD on Wednesday announced a line of chips designed for tablets, the Windows-optimised Z-Series.
In a press conference short on detail but big on scope, AMD rattled through its Fusion roadmap, from mainstream desktop PCs down to the tablet market.
In a masterfully understated aside, the firm's computer solutions group general manager, Chris Cloran, said he thought many people had been asking "where AMD stood in their tablet approach".
AMD's answer is the Brazos-based Z-Series, with 'Desna' chips that are set to land this year followed by the ‘Hondo' line in 2012.
These HTML5, Flash 10.2-supporting chips, which have a sub-6W TDP rating, are optimised for Windows systems, said Cloran, providing the same experience "on a full tablet or clamshell".
Given that Windows was mentioned only very briefly in passing by Intel in its keynote and press conference on Tuesday, it's particularly interesting to see AMD seize the initiative by cosying up to Redmond in tablets.
To prove the point, he invited on stage Rosen Sharma, the CEO of software virtualisation company Bluestacks, which enables tablets to run Android and Windows simultaneously.
The argument is that AMD's Fusion APUs are perfect for such dual OS tablets, given that Android can be particularly graphics intensive while Windows is more CPU intensive.
Whether AMD has stolen the show with this line-up remains to be seen, though. It might be the timing of the announcement - after we've heard so much from ARM and even Intel already - but it felt like a bit of a ‘me-too' launch at times.
"We've done something we didn't forsee going into the beginning of the year," said Cloran, which did nothing to dispel the impression that the Z-series might have been something of an afterthought for the company. µ