For a couple of years now the tech press has been hoping that AMD would eventually enter the smartphone SoC market. It would be a bonanza of fanboyism and clickbait, especially if Nvidia maintains it current posture in the ARM market. Sadly though, AMD isn’t about to make a smartphone chip. Although AMD has some interesting low-voltage APUs, as well as the ability to do custom Jaguar designs, it just won’t do mobiles.
Lisa Su, senior VP and general manager of global business units at AMD, told Gulf News that AMD believes mobile devices like tablets and hybrids are important, but it has no plans to enter the smartphone market.
“We really want to play to our strength in microprocessors, design and graphic capability. Gaming is a major focus for AMD. We are looking for areas to differentiate and gaming is a place where we can differentiate,” she said. “We will continue to look for key opportunities. The traditional PC market is really changing as we see a lot of new form factors. The PC business is our key but we will look for opportunities that will help us grow,”
Su stressed that AMD’s APU strategy is working and that an increasing number of applications will be using the APU architecture as a result. She said that by the end of the year about 20 percent of AMD’s business will be in semi-custom chips.
However, although this means we won’t see any AMD branded smartphone SoCs, there is still a possibility that the company will enter the mobile GPU market. Nvidia plans to do the same with its upcoming GPU architectures, which it will use in new Tegra chips, but it will also license them to other SoC makers.
If Nvidia can afford to do this, effectively helping its competition in the SoC business, we see no reason why AMD wouldn’t be able or willing to enter the fray. Demand for PCs and big GPUs is slowing, while at the same time mobile application processors are going from strength to strength. AMD still might choose to leverage its vast GPU experience in the new market, just like Nvidia.