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AMD's Hondo will only support Windows 8 at launch

Linux support coming, Android perhaps later
Fri Sep 14 2012, 18:31
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SAN FRANCISCO: CHIP DESIGNER AMD said its upcoming Hondo processor will be featured only on Windows 8 tablets at launch.

AMD's Hondo APU is the firm's first serious attempt to get into the tablet market and as the firm was busy showing hacks that Hondo can be used in devices that are sleek, it also told The INQUIRER that the firm is focusing on Windows 8. However unlike Intel, AMD said there is nothing stopping people from running Linux on its Hondo processor.

Steve Belt, corporate VP of ultra low power products at AMD told The INQUIRER, "This is a Windows 8 product, only. We're not doing Android on this platform, at least not now. [...] It is a conscious decision not to go after Android. We think the Windows 8 space has a lot of opportunity, there's plenty of TAM [total addressable market] there for us to go at. So we don't need to spread ourselves into other markets, we think Windows 8 is a great place to start. Down the road we may look at Android, right now we're focused on Windows 8."

AMD is banking on Microsoft's Windows 8 tablets to take up somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of the market, and to be fair if AMD can achieve a mid-teens market share in that portion, it will have done well, given its late entry and being hamstrung by Microsoft's operating system. However unlike Intel, Belt said AMD's software engineers are working on Linux support, though that doesn't necessarily mean Android.

Ultimately Intel's decision not to support Linux on Clover Trail could be costly, and not just in the tablet market. AMD's Hondo Linux support could come in handy in the low-power server market that Intel is trying to edge into. With AMD's Hondo GPU the firm could try to differentiate itself from Intel, which has only recently enabled OpenCL support on its integrated graphics cores.

With both AMD and Intel readying Hondo and Clover Trail respectively for Windows 8 and pushing their respective customers to come up with designs at roughly the same time, it will be interesting to see just how many Windows RT tablets will appear at the operating system's launch. However one thing is clear, neither AMD nor Intel will have Android x86 tablets running with their respective next generation ultra low voltage chips. µ


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