AMD to Enter Mobile in a Money Earning Way: Launching a FirePro APU Tablet
There's a lot of flak that both AMD and Intel are receiving on the mobile side of things. The investors want to see them go into the mobile market and earn $5-10 per chip instead of $30-X,XXX, but that’s just how the world works.
When it comes to AMD, the company has an image problem with the investors which are of the traditional kind, and go where the market focus currently is, instead of focusing on highly profitable niches. After AMD caught wind with taking some share from Nvidia's Quadro line of products, the company introduced FirePro APU – essentially a rebadged Trinity (Fusion A10) with professional graphics capabilities and certification.
Back on IDF Fall 2012 in San Francisco, we met with Steven Belt from AMD who showed us a prototype tablet from Fujitsu. Recently, Fujitsu became the first tablet maker to announce a product based on AMD Z-60 APU (codename: "Hondo"), but that was just the start. The second tablet win (again with Fujitsu) is a more important one, since it will mark the arrival of professional graphics in the mobile space. This is a market niche for all the professionals who simply did not have a tablet capable of handling graphics in a way they want.
The promise of cloud computing may fill the newspapers, online media and spreadsheets, but the fact of the matter is that remote workplace with graphics is simply a miserable experience. We've received dozens of emails from our readers that are saying that Cloud services simply don't work when you need to work on complex graphics.
Enter FirePro. AMD's first professional grade tablet will feature very similar and catchy design as the consumer version, but also carries a lot of graphics horsepower for users that need that FirePro experience like on desktop and mobile. Naturally, a 4.7 Watt part cannot perform as good as the parts with 2-5x higher envelope, but it will offer much better workflow than working with 3D models on an iPad or a similar tablet. Should the FirePro tablet win the hearts and minds, we believe it will only be the matter of time before we see other players joining the frame, Intel probably with Xeon tablets, and Nvidia with Quadro tablets.
Bear in mind that neither Nvidia nor Qualcomm cannot run full version of Windows 8, being stuck on Windows RT. AMD's advantage is that FirePro-based tablet can run Windows 8 Pro wth all the regular (desktop) versions of productivity suites. With AMD being the first out the door, the company just may gain traction by exploiting market niches where earnings and profits are high, and revenue and negative pressure (read: competition) being low.