Structure 2010: AMD’s Take on Mobile Devices: Wait and See

One of the biggest challenges AMD (s AMD) faces as a chip manufacturer, according to Rick Bergman, who heads up the company’s processor and computing platforms initiatives, is that old problem of predicting the future. With cycles spanning multiple years, said Bergman today the GigaOM Network’s Structure conference, anticipating Facebook’s requirements today would have required AMD “to start thinking about that in 2005.”

Bergman acknowledged that AMD is now very focused on laptops and notebooks, and that despite excitement among its competitors about serving handheld devices, doesn’t have “any immediate clients to serve the mobile form factor.” But it will “move into that going forward.”

As Stacey wrote earlier this month, “AMD hopes its APU will wow users with awesome multimedia performance at lower power consumptions, while still using software designed for CPUs.” In today’s talk, Bergman commented, “Ultimately the guy with the best processor wins,” adding that while price is important, performance power is “number one, number two and number three in how we look at our chips.”

Bergman noted a “dramatic shift over the last five years” from single threading to multithreading, and said, “We would love to do a lot more things because we have the capabilities.” AMD’s core processor and GPU technology, he said, “play great in handheld devices as well, but we’ve got a lot of opportunity we’re going to focus on elsewhere.”

When it comes to multicore solutions, Bergman sees AMD having a safe lead. “I think we know a little bit about connecting cores together, how to manage memory,” he said, tongue firmly planted in cheek. “All those things that other companies are going to have to learn how to do. The question is when will the market be ready for them?”

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