AMD Vice President of marketing Pat Moorhead has been testing out a number of netbooks for the last 6 months or so. And while he’s said the reason AMD hasn’t come out with a netbook processor yet is because the market is still young and netbooks aren’t living up to their promise, it’s looked a lot like he’s just been busy making excuses. But Moorhead says that’s not it: it’s just that he’s been less than impressed with every netbook to date.

Moorhead wrote an op-ed for this week that outlines his ideal netbook. Or rather netbooks. He says he has different needs for a mini-laptop he would at home and for one that he would use away from the house.

I’m going to completely disregard his ideal at-home netbook because it’s not a netbook. He wants a 13 inch screen and says that weight doesn’t matter that much. In other words, even after testing 7 different netbooks, Moorhead still doesn’t seem to understand what a netbook is and he should just by an old school laptop.

He does raise some interesting ideas for an away-from the house netbook. He wants a machine with a 1024 x 768 pixel or higher resolution display, and a 10 inch screen. Oh yeah, and it should be 3/4ths of an inch thick or thinner and weigh 1.5 to 2 pounds. He also wants a 320GB hard drive, the ability to connect to 3G networks using any SIM card, and built in GPS and Bluetooth.

And yeah, all of those things would be nice. But somehow I think a 2 pound netbook that measures 3/4ths of an inch thick is going to cost a bit more than your typical netbook – which kind of makes it not a netbook. The Asus Eee PC S101 already pushes the definition right up to its breaking point with its 2.4 pound weight, 1 inch height, and $699 price tag. Maybe in another year or two someone will be able to sell a smaller, lighter machine for $299. But I’d be surprised if you could find one today for less than $1500.

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8 replies on “AMD VP: My ideal netbook doesn’t exist yet”

  1. and with that vision of the perfect netbook, how is AMD going to help it happens?

  2. Surely, it is the people still reading this blog who are those for whom “My ideal netbook doesn’t exist yet”.

    I want to run “Eagle” on a netbook – but the stated minimum resolution is 1024×768. Linux is supported. Designing PCBs is time consuming – so a good battery life is needed.

    Once I find what I want I guess I’ll visit here less frequently.

  3. From AMDs point of view they have two options – 1) Design and market a netbook processor in a few months to try and gain ground in what is proving to be the biggest growth market (impossible for them to manage). 2) Spread so much crap and nonsense about Netbooks and hope that somebody believes it (slightly more possible than number 1).

    To design a new chip takes a long time. The original Banias alone took about 2 years to produce, and that wasn’t even a ground up design. To create a competitor to Atom that isn’t just an underclocker A64 will take substantially longer for AMD with their reduced R&D spending.

    So they stick their fingers in their ears and pretend that the netbook segment will go away if they shout loud enough.

    This would be all well and good if they had decent competing products for full sized notebooks, but in that respect they not only get chummed, they get chummed and they get less profit on their processors. This means that as the notebook segment expands, AMD needs to focus on creating a decent notebook processor before they create a decent netbook processor.

    This lack of profit underpins another issue for AMD. Let’s assume they get a competitor to Atom out there. What do they charge for it? Fate dictates it’ll either be slower than Atom or it’ll churn out more heat. So either way they’re stuck with lower margins, and for processors like this with low margins in the first place that’s a big issue. Intel gets away with using gigantic wafers, so they can produce several hundred more processors per wafer than AMD. This is important when you’re dealing with such a small die as a Netbook processor, you want as many per wafer as you can get.

    So AMD is stuck. They’ve got no real choices other than to keep pretending this segment will go away. Maybe it will, maybe it will change into something new over time. Either way, Intel will rule the roost for a long time now and when your main competitor is the only game in town all you can do is spew a load of idiocy and rhetoric.

      1. Thanks very much. It’s sadly true that AMD is not best poised to handle the curveball of Atom, but it’s not like they didn’t have time to attempt something – Atom wasn’t the best of secrets.

        In the end AMD will always be a reactionary chip maker, and that’s why they’re second fiddle. They need to ensure that they see what way the wind is blowing before they commit financial resources to it. Especially now that Notebooks are outselling desktops. This is a bad time for them to have such a poor mobility range (ATi aside).

      2. Agreed.
        I was just going to call Moorhead a dickhead since his job as Vice President in Charge of Lying means that he is the sap that is thrown to the wolves but I decided to laud your fine work instead.
        The less we mention the sleazoids who work in marketing, the cleaner we will all feel.

  4. So basically he wants a Sony TT… 11″ 1366 x 768, 2.8lbs, 0.93″ thick…. oh and starts at just $2100

    (you add GPS w/ a express card…)

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