AMD admits it's ignoring smartphones

AMD has admitted that it ceded the smartphone processor space to rivals, arguing that the company's strengths in graphics don't lend themselves to the handset segment. Instead, SVP and product group manager Rick Bergman suggests, tablets are where AMD's future lies, with the company's Z-series APUs delivering a balance of video performance and battery life. Speaking in Colorado this week, PC World reports, Bergman also reiterated earlier denials of ARM-based chipset plans.

"We haven't announced any plans to go in that handheld space. We've got plenty of opportunities... in server, notebook and now tablets, that's our immediate focus. But if the right circumstances come up and we can see a way to impact the market, we'll obviously continue to look ... We're excited about what the tablet market can do for AMD" Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, Product Group, AMD

Just as Intel has positioned its Atom processors, AMD's strategy is to deliver the "full PC experience" of graphics, app compatibility and performance and hope that it is what buyers – and OEMs – are looking for from their slates. Models actually using the Z-series processors are still in short supply, however. The MSI Windpad 110w went up for pre-order recently, but is yet to begin shipping, and Acer is reportedly looking at using the chips for Windows 7 based tablets though has no public release dates.

Getting x86 processors to the level where they can compete with ARM chips in the frugality/performance balance is still a work-in-progress, and early feedback of Atom chips has been less than glowing (as well as muddied by poor response to Windows 7 on tablet hardware). Intel has promised Android Honeycomb support but early feedback indicates the company still has work to do.