AMD was one of the last chip makers to make a play for the netbook space. While Intel and VIA duked it out in the early days of netbooks, AMD stood by the sidelines. Eventually AMD introduced its first Neo line of chips to limited success. This summer the company launched its Nile platform, which I’ve been very impressed with, and that’s just the beginning. AMD plans to continue pumping out low power chips with high performance graphics for the foreseeable future.
Basically AMD took a wait-and-see approach to the budget ultraportable notebook space. Once it looked like this new class of computers had some staying power, AMD made its play and so far it’s been a pretty good play.
Now AMD says it’s taking the same approach toward tablets. This year virtually every major PC maker and an awful lot of minor ones as well have announced plans to develop slate computers. Many will ship with low power ARM-based processors. Some will use Intel chips. AMD is waiting on the sidelines.
That doesn’t mean AMD won’t launch a platform for tablets in the future. The company just has no plans to get in on the ground floor. In an interview with InsideHW, AMD VP Leslie Sobon pointed out that while tablets are hot items right now, some analysts expect as many as 300 million netbooks to be sold this year (that sounds high to me, but she might be counting 11 and 12 inch notebooks in that class). Meanwhile, AMD isn’t swearing of slates… the company just wants to see if anyone other than Apple actually manages to make a dent in the tablet space before sinking time and money into tablet projects.
That sounds a lot like the approach we heard about a few months ago, but it’s always nice when you can attribute these statements to an actual person.