As an AMD fan, I truly had hopes that Windows 8 might be the golden opportunity for the company to provide a hand at creating cheap yet capable tablets that could compete against the army of Intel and ARM devices that will launch this year and in 2013. Unfortunately, AMD has yet to announce any major tablet offerings- even though their new Hondo low-power chip has been announced.
I want to see AMD succeed, but they continue to fall further behind it seems. Now AMD may be preparing for a massive round of layoffs. According to AllThingsD, the company is struggling and is considering a move that will cut up to 30 percent of its staff across the globe.
The internal sources that first released the information to AllThingsD says that this new cut will affect employees in the engineering and sales departments. These are groups that have yet to see past AMD cuts affect them. This could force AMD to cut back on its product offerings as well.
The announcement is said to go public in the next week or so, and could see thousands of AMD employees released. This could potentially be devastatingly bad news for the company.
It also leaves me curious, could it have been avoided? If they would have aggressively courted vendors in preparation for Windows 8, would they perhaps be looking towards a brighter future?
The problem itself could lay with Hondo, though. The new processor isn’t exactly a powerhouse and honestly is nearly a joke when set against the new Clover Trail from Intel– keep in mind that I am a AMD fan and yet I still feel the need to be harsh about this. Hondo isn’t bad, it just isn’t much better than what we’d get with a cheaper ARM alternative. The only plus being that AMD chips would have x86 applications and driver support.
With potentially large lay-offs on the horizon, what does it mean for AMD’s future? It’s hard to say. They need to look to the future here and continue the ground-work they laid with initiatives like the “AMD AppZone”, which brings Android apps over to AMD Windows 8 devices.
Hondo isn’t perfect, but it isn’t junk either. If they can make the price attractive enough, it could still have appeal in an entry-level tablet. A $275-$350 Windows 8 x86 tablet that has legacy support and also has a reasonable amount of Android apps could really appeal to some consumers.
Anyone who knows tech will likely stay away and go for something better, but what if AMD could work with a few vendors to market a low-end device that is the “Best of Both Worlds”. I can envision ads now that show off Android apps running in Window 8, and then also shows an AMD tablet launching up some Windows desktop apps as well. Marketing could make this work- maybe.
AMD isn’t down and out yet, but they need to trend carefully going forward. What do you think about this news? Can AMD still compete in the mobile world, or is the future of processors reserved for Intel and the ARM crowd?