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AMD Sees Little Future in Ultrabooks

In speaking with X-bit labs, John Taylor, the director of client product marketing and software at AMD, indicated that Intel's ultrabook initiative won't be an imminent success. Despite its high expectations, the rival company will likely have a hard time competing in a mobile market dominated by Apple's super-slim and super-powerful MacBook series.

"We have to wait and see when the actual thing comes to market and when Windows 8 comes to market and how does the final product [ultrabook hardware and Windows 8 software] look like as a $1000/€1000 type device," he said. "And how will it compete against already successful Apple MacBook Air. [...] The $1000+/€1000+ PC market is completely dominated by Apple."

He also pointed out that many of the promised features in the upcoming ultrabook form factor are based on Windows 8. Eventually those seemingly exclusive features will migrate beyond ultrabooks and into mainstream systems.

"Windows 8 brings a number of capabilities that Intel would seem to be collecting under the banner of ultrabook," he added. "As well, there are a few things that they are doing with higher-end components that they are looking at that enable faster wake and sleep and this type of capabilities [in Windows 8]."

Obviously AMD isn't taking an ultrabook-like route to address the highly-responsive and highly-portable sub-$1000 laptop market. Instead, it's taking the silicon route.

"We have been on the market with our ultra-thin strategy for some time," he said. "We have always believed there was a sweet spot in the market: the extreme sort of portability with beautiful aesthetic and very thin designs. […] We have Llano silicon solution today that delivers as good or better battery life than Intel and better all around visual experience. […] The Brazos platform [for low-cost systems] has been a runaway success for AMD."

He wouldn't go into any specifics about the upcoming "Trinity" APU, only stating that it's a "step up" in x86 performance, graphics performance and in some areas around video.

"I don't want to get too specific about our 2012 roadmaps, but we have two different types of APUs that we can bring to that ultra-thin market as we move forward to their introduction next year," he said.