AMD to Challenge NVIDIA With Android Support


Things are getting very interesting in the Android chipset game. One of the desktop’s biggest GPU providers – NVIDIA – has already made their way into several Android phones, tablets, and soon-to-be netbooks (hybrid or otherwise), and now their biggest desktop competitor – AMD – looks to join them.

They’re said to be recruiting engineers to create chipset drivers for Android. Starting out, their focus will likely be getting their mobile chipset into the tablets and netbooks of today’s top OEMs, but that doesn’t mean they won’t eventually end up in phones.

AMD joins a long list of other vendors next to NVIDIA, too – Samsung, Qualcomm and Texas instruments are all established players in this market, and even Intel is working on their own Android-ready chipset. (Though their plans seem to be much more pedestrian than those of their competitors.)

It wasn’t said who they’d be shopping their chipset to when and if they are available, but if it’s anything like NVIDIA’s story then we could see a wide range of OEMs adopting the technology for a fresh piece of technology to run tomorrow’s Android devices. (Samsung forwent their own dual-core processor for Tegra 2 in their tablets and even certain versions of the Samsung Galaxy S 2.)

Unfortunately, we don’t know when “tomorrow” actually is for AMD. NVIDIA has gotten a huge head-start in the high-performance chipset market and will likely be the de-facto offering for OEMs who want to provide dual-core devices in 2011. AMD has a lot of ground to make up if they want to catch up, but I’m certain they’ll be able to manage just as they have on the desktop side of things. [via DigiTimes]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. This is better for the consumer, nom nom nom.

  2. more choices but “when” is the problem.

  3. I wonder if they will stick with x86, or become yet another ARM licensee.

  4. Happy I just purchased AMD stock.

  5. This is awesome!!! I’m glad this is happening. With the fact that AMD owns ATI graphics and they are giving Intel a run for their money on the new embedded chip/graphics market, this is a win win situation for many consumers. This should put some fire under NVidia to do well with their next chips and provide us with more powerful and more battery efficient chips. GO AMD!!!

    1. Probably bad for developers. Adreno, PowerVR, Tegra 2 and now AMD XXX?

  6. This is great android will only get better with this addition

  7. yay now we can have some fun

  8. They are not doing the same as Nvidia. They will be using their x86 chips. AMD, along with Intel, should get the memo that ARM is the next paradigm in chip architectures, and it’s especially obvious when it comes to the mobile market. AMD lacks the vision of Nvidia, otherwise they would’ve gotten much earlier in the netbook and mobile markets.

    1. It’s Eddie Munster! Wow, can you turn into a bat or mist at will? Or is your power copy-pasting bits of other articles?

    2. AMD doesn’t lack vision. They lacked ability to act. Before 2007 with the release of the iPhone, a smartphone was a very niche market. Before the release of Android 2.0 (late 2009), there was no effective way to compete with others in the smartphone chipset market (very few players and tough to get into). The fact of the matter is that AMD hasn’t been in exactly the best of positions to completely redefine their business strategy during the 2009-present time period.

      The netbook market was similarly difficult for them due to the time that it really started booming. In addition, it was a market where there is very little profit in, just big numbers. That has always been AMD’s problem … they can’t pump out the big numbers of chips as easily as Intel.

      1. But that’s exactly the problem. When market shifts happen, you have to get in early, not when everyone is doing it, and be a late entrant. Usually the market forces strongly favor the early entrant. They get experience in the new market, the biggest brand recognition for that type of product, the biggest 3rd party ecosystem, and so on. All of these compound on each other and it’s very hard to reverse the trend later on as a new entrant, even if your product is “better” and you throw a lot of money at it.

        This is why Android or any other modern OS would’ve never beaten iOS if it wasn’t for everyone industry starting using it, and together managing to “beat” the iPhone, and it’s why WP7 will never get much traction against Android. Early entrants risk a lot by making a product that may not catch on in the market, but if they succeed, they also become leaders of that new market for the whole product category’s life cycle, until someone disrupts the market and shifts the industry towards something else once again.

        1. My point was there was no market nor any reasonable chance for a market during any time when AMD could make a move.

          You do understand how gravely they were in trouble during the time you expect them to have responded to this market shift? They had no ability to, plain and simple. Yeah, bad timing and it sucks. There’s a difference between having vision and having the ability to perform.

  9. I’m excited! I love AMD. Btw in the fourth paragraph was that supposed to be “shopping” I’m pretty sure you mean’t shipping. lol.

  10. i still suspect that exynos is better than tegra 2, i don’t have any hard evidence but seeing as hummingbird is just now being surpassed, i don’t think samsung will just give up and use tegra2 for everything…

    maybe the 8.9″ tab will have exynos, and that’s why it will come later than the others?

    that said, i’m almost ready to buy a transformer, wonder how well it’ll run ubuntu

    edit: btw, said difference is mostly due to tegra2 already being old, tegra3 might blow everything away

  11. I’m interested to see what AMD comes up with. I’ve preferred AMD chipsets in the computers I use – this is being typed on a computer with an AMD Phenom II X6 1100t BE chipset- so I’m looking forward to see what they come up with for Android. When talking to an old college buddy who works at AMD regarding the possibility of Android chipsets last week, he said that they were “exploring options” in regards to architecture but didn’t elaborate. Quite a few folks have knocked AMD over the years (I think more from some weird Intel fanboy thing than any real reason), but I’ve always found them to be great chipsets for my purposes. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with for Android. a 3GHz quad-core chipset for tablets may be just what I need to a get a stylus-driven Mathematica 8 port for a commercially available tablet.

  12. Guys, the original name for Adreno 200 gpu was ATI z430. Does this mean something to you?

  13. I dun think this is a good news to android. AMD will just make android’s fragmentation wider.

    1. So there’s only suppose to be one set of hardware specs, that aren’t ever suppose to change? Come on, get real.

      Also “dun” is not a word.

  14. I rather just have Tegra 2 only. Games would be optimized for every device.

  15. <—-AMD fan over here.

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