AMD eye tablet CPU/GPUs after patchy quarter

AMD has suggested it will look to differentiate its future tablet-centric chips by bolstering graphics and video technology, though the company expects netbook CPUs to be its main offering until the tablet market grows big enough to justify the R&D investment.  The comments, by AMD CEO Dirk Meyer, come on the heals of the company's latest quarterly financial report, in which AMD reported net losses of $118m on revenues of $1.62bn; that's a 2-percent sequential decrease, but a 16-percent increase compared to the same three month period a year ago.

The higher performing tablet graphics chips are indicative of AMD's general strategy to differentiate itself, with Meyer promising that the AMD Fusion APUs will begin shipping by the end of this quarter.  Nonetheless, power requirements are also high on the company's agenda, with Meyer recognizing that, to meet the sort of battery expectations users have formed from the iPad experience, tablet chips will need to suck down around half what a netbook chip could get away with.

"A tablet would optimally have power dissipation of two to three watts, which is a little more than half of what a fanless Netbook would tolerate. I expect customers will take components designed with Netbooks in mind and put them in tablets. And I think you'll see AMD solutions in tablets in the next couple of years for that reason

It's [a market] we'll devote significant R&D energy towards when the market is big enough to justify that investment. Frankly, we're still so small in the notebook market that it doesn't make sense for us to turn R&D dollar spending toward the tablet market yet. We'll start doing that when the market is big enough" Dirk Meyer, CEO, AMD

AMD's GPU business fell 11-percent sequentially, though rose 33-percent year-on-year, which the company blames both on reduced numbers of sales and cheaper chips.  Operating income for the GPU business fell from $33m in Q2 2010 to just $1m in Q3 2010.