Tag Archives: amd

Old guard chipmakers emphasise the old at Pepcom

by Steve Blum • , , , , , , , , ,

Plenty of leg, but no ARM at Pepcom.

If you were wondering why Intel and AMD released downbeat quarterly reports this week, you only had to look at their products. The difference, though, is that AMD has control of its own destiny, while Intel will have to rely on the kindness of strangers to survive.

The two chipmakers showcased the hottest products rocking their silicon at Pepcom’s Holiday Spectacular in San Francisco on Wednesday. That’s not the same, though, as saying they were showing the hottest products on the market.

Both companies were heavy on Windows 8 PCs and mobile devices. The former are slowly sliding toward kitchen appliance appeal and replacement cycles, and the latter seem to have gone underground. Intel did have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 running Android, but that was it. Everything else – HP, Acer, Sony, Toshiba, MSI, Dell, ASUS – was bog standard Windows. (To be fair, Dell also had a Pepcom display with a couple of nice bargain priced Android tablets front and center).

All the devices at both displays were powered by chips using Intel’s x86 architecture, which AMD also licenses. Intel doesn’t have a choice, of course. But AMD does. It’s making ARM-based processors for the server side of the industry, and the client-side might not be too far away.

“We’ll continue to work with [ARM] where we think the market asks for it,” said Sarah Youngbauer, AMD’s spokesperson at Pepcom. Given that the market is emphatically demanding mobile products, that might be the same as saying we should be expecting a product announcement soon.

Ballmer won’t let the door hit him on the way out

Microsoft is pulling out of CES after this year, presumably because the show doesn’t support its corporate and brand marketing goals. CEO Steve Ballmer’s farewell keynote was an hour-plus company sales pitch delivered at the top of his lungs, with a parade of product demonstrations by his executive team.
It was if he was saying “here’s why we don’t need you guys”. At least he didn’t mention the horse we rode in on.
Top of the list of reasons why Ballmer is happy following Apple out of CES is Windows 8. “There’s nothing more important” to Microsoft’s future, he said.
He and his team demoed the new Metro user interface. Assuming it will do what they say it will do, it’ll take it a step further down the Apple user interface roadmap than Apple itself has yet to go.
The concept is to have a seamless UI experience across PCs, game and video boxes and mobile devices, including phones and tablets. Apple is moving in that direction, but is doing it with two separate operating systems, iOS and OS X. Windows 8 is intended to do the job of both.
Microsoft continues to edge away from its former near-monogamous relationship with Intel. Ballmer said Windows 8 is designed to run just fine on x86 chips, from both Intel and AMD, but it’s built from the ground up to support ARM processors from NVIDIA, Texas Instruments and Qualcomm too.
Ballmer acknowledged that Microsoft is under pressure, particularly in mobile products, but said “competition is a great thing and I’m glad we have Windows”. Custer might have said the same about the 7th Cavalry.