When it comes to tablets, how important is the mobile processor inside? The truth is that the vast majority of consumers in the tablet market seem to pay little mind to what brand or design of processor is powering their tablets. What seems more important is the brand type of the tablet hardware itself. This makes sense, but it is somewhat contrary to how things seem to work in the PC world.
While the brand of your PC does in fact matter, Intel has spent millions upon millions making sure that we KNOW for sure that a computer comes equipped with their “Intel Inside” technology.
Many less-tech-oriented users often look for the “Intel Inside” logo before purchasing a new laptop or desktop because they equate the processor brand with a higher level of quality. This isn’t to say that AMD doesn’t make good processors, simply that Intel has done a better job at pushing their brand while also creating excellent processors.
Why the background on Intel Inside and AMD? Windows 8 is in the unique position of putting AMD, Intel and a whole host of ARM-based processors (Nvidia, Qualcomm, TI, etc) into a massive war against each other.
With the X86 (AMD/Intel) and ARM being too separate standards with their own pros and cons, Windows 8 tablets will be the first tablets where processor type and brand really could matter to consumers.
For those looking for backwards compatibility with older Windows applications and drivers, X86 is going to be the way to go. The big question though is if Intel will continue to dominate in the x86 tablet space or if AMD has a chance one-upping Intel.
With Intel beating out AMD in the desktop/laptop world, why would tablets be any different? There are a few reasons actually.
AMD’s APU design puts together a graphics and processing solution that actually is reasonably decent at power consumption and could work will on tablets. AMD also owns ATI which is known for its graphics in the PC world, even if it plays second fiddle to Nvidia.
BlueStacks – Bringing Android Apps to Windows 8
The next big difference could have to do with app support. AMD has reached out to BlueStacks to bring us what they are billing as the AMD AppZone Player.
Essentially, this is the same thing as the standard Intel compatible BlueStacks player – which allows the use of Android apps via Windows – but it will start coming pre-installed with several AMD Windows 8 tablets in the near future and has been specifically optimized for use with AMD APUs and CPUs.
While the amount of Android apps offered through the AppZone isn’t very high yet, AMD and BlueStacks hope to continually increase the amount of apps available with a lofty goal of offering around 500,000 apps. From the sounds of it, it should also work just fine with external APK (Android install) files. This will certainly help give AMD a pretty big advantage over Intel among casual consumers who don’t understand what BlueStacks is and how to install it separately on Intel.
This should also help alleviate some of the complaints about Windows 8 only currently having a little over 2000 apps right out the gate (which I personally think isn’t bad at all for a brand new OS).
Could AMD’s APU design and its new partnership with BlueStacks give it the chance to truly do well in the tablet space, or will competition from Intel and the ARM-based offerings be to fierce here for AMD to properly compete?