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AMD Jumping on the Android Bandwagon

By - Source: Android Community | B 36 comments

AMD is recruiting software engineers to develop drivers for Google's Android OS.

It was only a matter of time before AMD followed Nvidia's lead and finally jumped onto the Android bandwagon, as the company is now recruiting engineers to create chipset drivers for Android. According to unnamed sources, the nation's second largest CPU manufacturer is now looking to offer notebook and tablet partners chipset solutions supporting Google's popular mobile platform.

"The Linux Base Graphics team is looking for Android Driver Development engineers to help us evolve our driver stack for new platforms and in line with the development trends in the Android ecosystem," reads the job description. "Experience with video decode acceleration within the Android web browser or video player application would be an asset. Experience with webm and/or OpenMax would be a bonus."

The company confirmed its interest in Android during an interview back in mid-March. Neal Robison, senior director of content and application support at AMD, indicated that offering support for Google's mobile platform makes a lot of sense for the company. "That is something we will be investigating as we take our Fusion architecture [into new markets] and we are able to create versions of this architecture for lower power environments that would work quite well for, perhaps, a tablet using this operating system."

But is AMD's entry a little too late? As it stands now, Nvidia's Tegra 2 seems to be the dominant solution in current Android-based tablets, only to be followed by solutions from Samsung, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments. Intel is even reportedly working on an Android-ready Atom chipset. That said, AMD certainly has some catching up to do to say the least.

The news arrives with additional reports that MSI is gearing up to market its latest tablet using AMD's 40-nm low-power Brazos APUs-- probably the revised Ontario with HD support and a 5W thermal design. Acer has reportedly already placed Brazos APU orders with AMD back in January, seemingly unable to wait on AMD's Ontario replacement, the 28-nm Wichita 2nd-generation APU, which isn't even expected to arrive until the first half of 2012.

It's likely that both companies will showcase their Brazos-based tablets this June at COMPUTEX 2011. E3 2011 also takes place in June, making it one of the busiest months of the year both on a hardware and a software front.

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  • 3 Hide
    pelov , April 9, 2011 5:22 PM
    Does this mean we'll get better drivers for all distros of linux, finally?
  • 4 Hide
    sabot00 , April 9, 2011 5:47 PM
    This will be quite interesting, an excellent low-power x86 CPU with android.
    soldier37Is there a android bandwagon? I didnt think so.. Iphone FTW.

    You realize the Apple A4 chip in the iPhone 4 is already tons behind competitors right?
    800Mhz vs Dual Core 1.2GHz
    PowerVR SGX 535 vs SGX 540's, GeForce ULPs, and Adreno 220s.
  • -2 Hide
    piesquared , April 9, 2011 5:48 PM
    Tegra is ARM. AMD doesn't have an ARM architecture, they have x86. They are talking about driver development for X86 on Android. So it has nothing to do with NV as they don't have an x86 license. Apples and oranges, cats and dogs, night and day.
  • Display all 36 comments.
  • -2 Hide
    NightLight , April 9, 2011 5:53 PM
    move along AMD, nothing to see here... move along!
  • 6 Hide
    N.Broekhuijsen , April 9, 2011 6:23 PM
    soldier37Is there a android bandwagon? I didnt think so.. Iphone FTW.

    Get your head out of your ***
  • 2 Hide
    Parsian , April 9, 2011 6:30 PM
    as usual, GO AMD!!!
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 9, 2011 6:37 PM
    Android will rule the world and leave nothing but applesauce behind.
  • 1 Hide
    mosu , April 9, 2011 6:53 PM
    AMD finally understood the world is moving towards mobility and I assume that's why they've changed the CEO.Better later than never!Also I think 40nm chips are not suitable for low power solutions, so wait till 28nm goes mainstream.
  • 0 Hide
    pelov , April 9, 2011 7:19 PM
    piesquaredTegra is ARM. AMD doesn't have an ARM architecture, they have x86. They are talking about driver development for X86 on Android. So it has nothing to do with NV as they don't have an x86 license. Apples and oranges, cats and dogs, night and day.


    Just do what everyone else does with ARM... pay somebody else for every chip you make ;P

    I don't see x86 doing well in the phone/tablet market; at least not in the near future.
  • -5 Hide
    ben850 , April 9, 2011 7:29 PM
    sabot00This will be quite interesting, an excellent low-power x86 CPU with android.You realize the Apple A4 chip in the iPhone 4 is already tons behind competitors right?800Mhz vs Dual Core 1.2GHzPowerVR SGX 535 vs SGX 540's, GeForce ULPs, and Adreno 220s.


    You must have forgotten about the iPhone 5 coming out this summer/fall. Either way, the iPhone can run smoother with less power. Yes it is a more controlled environment, but that is what I want in my personal phone.

    Android phones are cool and all, with their beefy CPU's and (nearly) full customization, but only if you sit at home all day next to a wall charger.

    tl;dr I'll take an efficient product over a raw/uncontained one any day.
  • 0 Hide
    winner4455 , April 9, 2011 7:55 PM
    ben850You must have forgotten about the iPhone 5 coming out this summer/fall. Either way, the iPhone can run smoother with less power. Yes it is a more controlled environment, but that is what I want in my personal phone.Android phones are cool and all, with their beefy CPU's and (nearly) full customization, but only if you sit at home all day next to a wall charger.tl;dr I'll take an efficient product over a raw/uncontained one any day.


    Battery efficiency isn't related to how open the product is..
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 9, 2011 8:02 PM
    sheeple on both sides post here
  • 2 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , April 9, 2011 8:35 PM
    soldier37You do realize the Iphone 5 will blow away anything and everything this Summer.

    It's true that the SGX543 in the A5 is considerably more powerful then what's offered in most other competing SOC's, including the Geforce ULP in Tegra 2. But the processor's are relatively similar, both SOC's integrating dual-core Cortex A9's running at 1GHz. Apple tends to integrate less RAM in their SOC's then the competition, 512MB in comparison to 1GB in most Tegra 2 devices. Apple also downclocked the Cortex A8 based A4 used in the the iphone4 to 800MHz in comparison to the 1Ghz clock seen in the ipad and many other competing A8 based smart phones, so a similar downclock may be used in the iphone5.

    All things considered, Tegra 2 smartphones have been on the market for nearly a quarter now, while Apple's A5 based iphone5 won't be available for at least another quarter. That's potentially a 6 month gap right there. So taking this into consideration I think it's a little difficult to say that the iphone5 will "blow away" everything this summer when other similarly performing Android devices are on the market right now.

    And on a side note, Nvidia's Tegra 3 "Kal-El", integrating a quadcore Cortex A9 and a considerably more robust GPU, is set for release in the 3rd quarter, with smartphones based on the new SOC coming to market 1st quarter 2012 (tablet availability in 4th quarter 2011). If everything goes as planned Andriod based devices would again beat Apple to the market with next-gen SOC tech.
  • 0 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , April 9, 2011 9:16 PM
    sabot00You realize the Apple A4 chip in the iPhone 4 is already tons behind competitors right?800Mhz vs Dual Core 1.2GHz

    A valid point, although it's not just the clock speed, but the architecture as well. The Tegra 2 uses dualcore Cortex A9's, while the Apple A4 uses a single core A8. Even if both SOC's were single core and running at the same clockspeed, the efficiency optimizations in the A9 would still be quite obvious. Performance-per-clock is considerably higher on the Cortex A9 in comparison to the A8.
  • 0 Hide
    znegval , April 9, 2011 9:32 PM
    winner4455Battery efficiency isn't related to how open the product is..


    I might be wrong but I think it kinda is. I have to watch my ass constantly when running my Android apps because some of them are sucking my battery life away. By having a tight control over which apps you can buy Apple probably tries to guarantee that the app doesn't do stuff life this (or they'd be blamed for having a crappy battery).

    But then again I could never afford an iPhone so I might be a little off on this one. Maybe the same thing happens but I would be surprised.
  • 2 Hide
    aznguy0028 , April 9, 2011 10:13 PM
    soldier37Is there a android bandwagon? I didnt think so.. Iphone FTW.

    Spoken like a true mac zealot. All hail prophet Jobs!
  • -1 Hide
    sinfulpotato , April 9, 2011 10:30 PM
    AMD has one small advantage. Global Foundries has already been pumping out the latest mobile chips. They have all the technology at there finger tips.

    Now to enter the market legally. While AMD doesn't technically own Global Foundries, and they more or less own it... if that makes sense.
  • -1 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , April 9, 2011 10:52 PM
    who cares, these tablets are not going to sell well anyway. AMD are really wasting their time and effort here. Apple is the only company that can sell tablets that people will buy. there doesnt seem to be a real reason for apple being able to sell while others do not since they are lower specced and overpriced; the only reason is apple zombies. Its low powered smartphones they need to get into where android is becoming number one.
  • 0 Hide
    fir_ser , April 9, 2011 11:06 PM
    Better late than never.
  • 3 Hide
    house70 , April 9, 2011 11:51 PM
    soldier37Is there a android bandwagon? I didnt think so.. Iphone FTW.

    Are there still trolls? I didn't think so... Wait, here's one!
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