AMD responds to Project Denver and talks tablets

Today TechEye met with Bob Grim of AMD at the sprawling Las Vegas Convention Center [sic]. All of CES is a site to behold, like a neon drill opening up your skull and dropping LEDs in by pipette. So we were glad when we had the chance to sit down in the South Hall meeting room for a chat.

It’s a very chippy year already. Just yesterday we reported on Nvidia’s partnering with ARM and the official launch of Sandy Bridge from Intel. Of course, AMD has its Fusion offering which some enthusiasts are saying kicks the crap out of Intel. Grim thinks the reason for AMD’s decisions are because of the strength of direct compute OpenCL. But is AMD worried? More specifically – about ARM and Nvidia on a quest for world domination?

The answer is, not really, yet. Of course ARM has been underestimated before but AMD’s line for now is, essentially, good luck to them.

Denver has been rumoured for a long time now, and Grim confirms to us that if a company’s hush hush then it’s probably true: “ARM and Nvidia teaming up was not a surprise. We expected them to do something, with the graphics market changing the way it is, with APs coming, we didnt know exactly what they’d do. But it’s what we said we’d do many years ago. 

“They’re going down a long hard road but it’ll be interesting to see it.”

Also interesting, AMD agrees, is talk of the town for these few days in Vegas, tablet computing. AMD certainly has tablet contracts on the way and Grim confirms to us that AMD will land itself in quite a few. When we registered to meet up with Bob, we were handed a questionairre to fill out, and one query was basically: “Do you think AMD can pull off tablets?”

Of course, with Fusion, it can. Perceived battery life problems have long plagued AMD but the latest offerings have seen a real boost. At the moment, only Acer tablets have AMD chips under the bonnet but it does have a fair few design wins. We didn’t get an exact figure, but between notebooks, netbooks, all in ones and tablets designs are at about 120 so far.

Does AMD think tablets have a future?  “There is a future for tablets,” Bob tells us. But he agrees that as it stands, the future is uncertain – how will software be addressed? At the moment the league of OS’ can be confusing for buyers, but, AMD says, this “won’t last long”. Remember – AMD is involved with Meego. It could happen.

We’ll have to wait and see what “the industry consolidates on and uses – if not one architecture, maybe a few.”

*EyeSee Our controversial insistence that AMD execs do not write their own blogs has been refuted yet again. Every single word, says Bob, are by execs – and Leslie Sobon’s geeky boyfriend post was no exception. We still trust our source.