Hardware, Software Programs

AMD Officially Enters Tablet Business? without public Design Wins

During the Intel Developer Forum 2012 which took place in Moscone West Center in downtown San Francisco, AMD traditionally occupied the Presidential Suite at the neighboring St. Regis hotel. The company displayed products which will be introduced in October 2012, which AMD internally calls "Speed Month".

One of probably most interesting products was the newly introduced Z-60 APU. Formerly known as "Hondo", this is the first tablet-oriented product coming out of AMD. As you can see on the spec sheet below, Z-60 is nothing else but an Ultra-Low Power version of Zacate APU, which was introduced as Fusion E-Series in January 2011. Given that Zacate originally debuted in double digit Watt figures as a platform, reducing the power all the way down to 4.5W is nothing short of impressive.

AMD Z-60 APU Codenamed "Hondo"
AMD Z-60 APU spec sheet, former code name "Hondo"

During our briefing, we were shown comparative results of AMD Z-60 versus the Intel Clover Trail products and indeed, the performance difference was more than visible.

Also, we were showing several interesting tablet design wins, including an ultra-thin design which is quite frankly, thinner than anything we saw in Intel’s camp. This brings us to the unfortunate part of the whole announcement. Today, AMD is announcing the Z-60 APU and that’s it. There are no announced tablet design wins, no details on target pricing nor the availability, sans the launch date of Windows 8, which is October 26 (last Friday of this month).

The design wins AMD has are quite interesting, but without launching them today, we are not able to show you is AMD finally equipped with a ticket to ride for the ever growing mobile world. While we do understand the surroundings of Microsoft Windows launch and penalties for partners that jump the gun, we don’t see why AMD would not either select a partner or introduce a reference design that can show what Z-60 can do.

We saw it can do quite a lot, including software suite such as the AutoCAD 2012 from Autodesk, leaving room for even a professional version of the tablet, perhaps even under the FirePro brand. The product itself is good and design wins are promising. However, no real news until Microsoft launches its operating system. Which is a darn shame, if you ask us.