It looks like AMD is trying to develop a new revenue stream and also create some additional competition for Intel. Ever since AMD bet the farm on purchasing ATi they have been taking a back seat to Intel. The reasons are many, but one of the big ones was not having enough money for R&D for multiple concurrent projects. After the ATi buy failed to yield results quickly they had to start cutting corners. R&D and marketing were some of the first places hit. Now, many years (and a number of CEOs) later AMD is still fighting to be relevant. They have some solid ideas, but just to not have the capital to put them all on the table at once.
Tablets based on Android with 64-bit Atom processors should arrive on the market in the next quarter, according to Intel's CEO Brian Krzanich at a meeting with analysts. Intel in November demonstrated the first prototype tablet with Android, which was powered by a 64-bit Atom. Of course, even though the 64-bit devices are at the door, it is worth noting that most of the applications at this time are not optimized for the new processors.
It seems that Apple's launch of iPhone 5S device, the first smartphone with a 64-bit processor initiated a new trend on the market. Apple iPhone 5S as it is known brings its own 64-bit A7 processor with more than 1 billion transistors and a new 64-bit operating system, iOS 7.
IBM has released details about their new processor from Power Line 8, which should have 12 cores. New IBM processor is one of the last competitors in x86 architecture, to processors from Intel and AMD, which have already taken most of the server market. But IBM is still earning billions of dollars selling servers and supercomputers based on Power chips.
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.
It looks like Intel is branching out in other directions in terms of operating system partners. Currently they work with both Microsoft and Apple as the primary processor for systems running these two competing OSes. Now Intel is looking to the tablet and mobile market as they cozy up with Google’s Android. Although the announcement is fairly recent many have heard the rumblings through a few teasing comments made on the internet.
The rise of the ARM architecture has been a meteoric one and came as something of a shock to many of the mainstream players in the mobile industry. The concept for the ARM based SoC (System on Chip) is pretty simple: build a small, energy efficient device that is able to use memory and processor cycles as efficiently as possible. This is what x86 CPU manufacturers are trying to do as well. So why are there more manufacturers of ARM based SoCs than there are x86? Well, the problem here is one of licensing. You see, it is much easier and less expensive to license the ARM architecture than it is x86. Right now there are very few players that even have an x86 license. This limits the competition down quite a bit and also (unfortunately) slows progress. However, the fight between Intel and ARM is just heating up. And despite the small number of players in the x86 market, things are far from certain in this area as we enter into a new round of combat between RISC and CISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing and Complete Instruction Set Computing).
Qualcomm intends to implement their fast Krait cores, like those in the Snapdragon S4, only to the chips for the upper segment of the market. The company will incorporate Krait core designs only inside of their quad-core SoC chips for high-end mobile devices, while the cheaper Snapdragon will be for smartphones priced below $160 and will have a reference ARM core. This has been confirmed by James Shen, one of Qualcomm's managers.
Intel is developing another Atom processor for specialized applications. The chip, codenamed Briarwood, is expected to hit the market in the first quarter of next year and is designed specifically for the data storage segment , SAN(Storage area network) solutions and SBB (Storage building blocks) products. The processor will have two Saltwell x86 cores with support for virtualization and HT (4 logical cores) and single channel DDR3 memory controller with support for ECC. Within Briarwood should be found the Crystal Beach DMA engine, which offers support for RAID 5 and 6, and DIF.
According to reports on Bloomberg, Apple is working the possibility of a switch of all of their Mac PCs to ARM processors. If they do make this change it will be the third processor architecture they have gone through. Apple started with Motorola 68xxx series processors, to be switched to the PowerPC in 1994, and for the past seven years they have been running on the Intel x86 architecture. Most interesting of all is that Apple managed to successfully, usually with minimal shock to their customers, make such a fundamental transition every time by which they are unparalleled in the industry.