There is an old saying in business that you have to spend money to make money. The meaning is sort of plain, but we will give you a clear example of what it means. In the tech world, if you are not spending money to improve your products or to build the next generation then you are pretty much going to have a very short life. This is not to say you have to dump huge mounds of cash into research and development, but you do have to spend some on the right things. This means that you can tell a lot about a company’s focus and future outlook by simply looking at their R&D spending.
The press, in general, has an exceptionally short memory and at times many technical reporters cannot put two and two together to save their lives. This appears to be the case with some of the reports on AMD’s “new” plans to enter the Android market at full speed. The problem with these reports is that they keep forgetting time-lines, history and only seem able to report what is handed to them in a briefing or press release. Some of them seem to think that AMD was struggling to get back into game consoles and that AMD’s interest in Android is something new; neither of these are true.
A couple of days ago the internet lit up with AMD’s announcement of their new Jaguar SoCs. These new G-series embedded processors were boasting some rather healthy improvements in performance including a claim of a 113% increase in performance over older x86 SoCs and a rather bold claim of a 125% increase in performance over Intel’s Atom. But while the new embedded APU with its 8000 series GPU should have been big news all on its own, what really caught people’s attention was a little x in the corner. As it turns out this X is intended to denote an x86 version of the G-Series SoC…
Yesterday AMD made an announcement that has been in the works for some time and one that we predicted would happen. Late last year as AMD began to change their direction we noticed that AMD was solidifying their partnerships with Texas Instrument, Samsung and a few others who they have always maintained close ties with. AMD had also publicly stated that they were no longer going to compete with Intel head to head in the high-end market but that they were going to work on more power efficient solutions while improving their current offerings for the data center (trying to get more CPU cycles with less power). At the time we felt that AMD was preparing to build their own SoC (System on Chip) offerings we also felt that it was likely that AMD would build both x86 and ARM versions. The last piece of the puzzle was AMD licensing ARM technology (originally AMD claimed this was for use inside their CPUs to handle security).
AMD goes back to its past as it looks to the future… sounds like a good headline right? But it is not merely a headline, but a reality in that AMD has done what we predicted they would do back in November 2011 when we talked about the direction that AMD was moving in. AMD is putting together an R&D consortium like they had when they were developing the Opteron and a few other products. At the time the think tank involved companies like Motorola, Texas Instrument, IBM, and even Samsung. Now the players are different, but the goal is the same.