RealTime IT News

AMD Adds Mobile R&D Lab

AMD is investing time and energy in developing chips for more than just the server or desktop.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based semiconductor maker said it is continuing development on three of its chip families -- Athlon 64, Alchemy and Geode -- for low-power form factors including thin-and-light laptops, consumer electronics and communication devices. The announcement on Wednesday coincided with the opening of a research and engineering laboratory at AMD Japan's Tokyo headquarters.

The company has assigned Steve Polzin, AMD Fellow and Chief Platform Architect, to initially manage the facility with as many as 20 engineers joining him over the next 12 to 18 months. Research will run the gamut of low-power issues such as electrical, thermal and silicon designs. The team is expected to work closely with AMD's silicon engineering teams in Austin, Texas and Dresden, Germany, as well as platform engineering teams in Austin and Taipei.

AMD said it chose Tokyo for the lab because it felt the Japanese market has been leading the rest of the world in mobile computing adoption. With notebook PCs outselling desktop units since 2001, Japan's thirst for mobile devices shows no sign of slowing down. In 2003, AMD noted that the notebook segment comprised nearly 55 percent of the Japanese PC market and continues to expand.

"Japan is the country where mobile computing trends are set," said Kazuo Sakai, corporate vice president, sales and marketing, AMD South Asia Pacific and Japan. "By establishing this new engineering lab in Tokyo, our Japanese customers will be able to influence and contribute to mobile device feature definitions in a more significant way."

Already, AMD has found an interested development partner in Sharp Electronics, which said it would work closely with AMD to develop future notebook PCs.

The new Athlon64 notebooks are expected to include AMD's multi-tasking HyperTransport technology as well as an antivirus feature that works in concert with the upcoming Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 to prevent common attacks like buffer overflows.

AMD said its Personal Connectivity Solutions Group (PCSG) will be looking at new ways of developing the company's Alchemy and Geode chips for multimedia devices as well as growth opportunities in consumer electronics and communication segments.

The Geode processor family is part of AMD's non-PC Internet Appliance market. Along with its Alchemy processor family, the company is targeting multimedia, access devices, computing devices, with growth opportunities in consumer electronics and communication segments. The new chips are expected to compete with other fanless, low-power processors such as rival chipmakers Transmeta and their with its Crusoe and Efficeon chips as well as Intel's XScale product line.