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Previous Blogs

April 15, 2014
The Mobility Myth

April 9, 2014
BYOD Dilemma: Devices vs. Data

April 8, 2014
Insider Extra: Qualcomm's Evolving Story

April 1, 2014
A Wearables Forecast

March 25, 2014
Measuring Success in Wearables? It's Thousands of Thousands

March 24, 2014
Insider Extra: Intel Strategy Moves Forward

March 18, 2014
IOT: Islands of Isolated Things?

March 11, 2014
Wearables Cautionary Tale

March 4, 2014
The New Platform Battle

February 25, 2014
Watch What Happens

February 18, 2014
Talkin' 'bout Touchpads

February 11, 2014
The MultiOS Conundrum

February 4, 2014
Computing Redefined

January 28, 2014
The Apple Problem

January 21, 2014
The 2-in-1s People Might Want

January 14, 2014
The Post Tablet Era

January 7, 2014
The Innovation Asymptote

December 31, 2013
Top 5 2014 Predictions

December 17, 2013
Holiday Shoppers Gifting Themselves

December 10, 2013
Companion Apps

December 3, 2013
Aisle Check
















TECHnalysis Research Blog Extra

April 18, 2014
Insider Extra: AMD Back in the Groove

Looking back around 18 months or so, things were not good for chip stalwart AMD. Despite having a solid new leadership team that was just starting to hit its stride, the company was facing some difficult times as the PC market—the company’s primary source of sustenance back then—suffered through an even faster decline than most had predicted. In fact, some were even questioning the company’s long-term viability.

As things sit here in April of 2014, the picture is much improved. Thanks to the first ever sweep of a complete generation of game consoles—Playstation IV, Xbox One and Wii U are all powered by AMD chips—the execution of a management plan that itself focused on better execution within the company, and intelligent attention to and restructuring of its debt burdens, the atmosphere around (and apparently even within) the company are greatly improved. CEO Rory Read and his team have laid out a clear vision of deriving only 50% of the company’s revenues from the PC market by the end of 2015. In addition, they’ve started to preview a strong road map for new innovations within their GPU, CPU and APU (accelerated processing unit—AMD’s melding of a graphics and compute engine into a single piece of silicon) line of products.

The company is coming off not only the success in game consoles, but its graphics business also boasts a high-profile win in Apple’s sleek new Mac Pro, which features two discrete AMD FirePro workstation GPUs. For now, they’re also claiming the lead in the hard-fought and never-ending graphics performance battle with rival nVidia via the dual GPU Radeon R9 295X2. However, they’ve still got a ways to go in order to catch their rival when it comes to graphics market share.

On the compute side, AMD has been suffering through a bit more. Many of its recent successes were in the low-cost consumer notebook segment—one of the tougher markets to be in and one that’s been declining even more rapidly than the overall PC market. The company has made some important new hires on its CPU architecture team over the last year or so, however, and hopes are high that a completely re-architected next generation mobile APU, “Kaveri,” expected to launch later in the first half of this year will have a positive impact. In addition, the company is planning some stronger forays into the commercial PC space, which has been a traditional weak point for AMD, but which is also the most promising segment of the PC market. Finally, the company has announced that two low-cost APUs—codenamed “Mullins” and “Beema”—will ship sometime in 2014 with both significant performance-per-watt improvements over their predecessors, as well as the rather intriguing prospect of an on-chip, ARM-based security co-processor that leverages the ARM TrustZone. While full details haven’t been released publicly yet, the concept appears to ensure a secure boot and provide for the creation of a trusted execution environment, both of which will likely be well received in a market that’s becoming increasingly security conscious.

Moving forward, the company is also putting more emphasis on the little understood, but very large embedded computing market (think gambling machines, medical devices, ATMs, etc.), the custom silicon space (a la the game consoles), and is even attempting to re-establish its previous glory in servers with both its SeaMicro “data center in a box” architecture as well as forthcoming ARM-based server CPUs. The company continues its efforts around heterogeneous system architecture (HSA), as well, which is driving for standardized ways of leveraging GPUs (and APUs) not just for graphics but other computationally-intensive applications.

All told, it’s becoming increasingly clear that AMD has moved well beyond any danger zone and is headed towards a brighter future. To be clear, numerous challenges remain—particularly if we see a sudden drop-off in game consoles or if some of their future CPU designs fail to close the gap with Intel—but like the musicians who populate the company’s hometown of Austin, TX, it seems AMD is getting back into its groove.

Here's a link to the original column: http://techpinions.com/amd-back-in-the-groove/29538

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