In its quarterly earnings conference call this week AMD talked about securing new laptop deals with OEMs that will ship in H2 of this year. “We have secured a number of premium notebook designs wins for Kaveri and also have solid adoption for our next generation Beema and Mullins SoCs.” said AMD’s President and CEO Rory Read. Traditionally AMD’s mobile offerings are often the cheapest products on the market. Only very rarely do we see major OEMs produce premium (>$600) products using AMD’s chips.
This has been a consistent issue for AMD as the company’s chips have often been shackled with low quality notebook designs from OEMs and consequently have been unable to compete with Intel-based offerings on appearance or build quality. Perhaps the biggest issue for AMD’s mobile efforts has been a consistent tradeoff by major OEMs to use smaller batteries on products with AMD’s chips in them in an effort to further cut costs. The downside of this choice is that most AMD laptops on the market will only run for six hours or so on a single charge.
AMD’s attempts to compete in the mobile space even with these disadvantages have been admirable. But if you’re looking for a laptop with a Full HD screen, 8 hours of battery life, and good build quality; chances are you won’t be looking at any AMD powered products. The success of AMD’s efforts to break into the premium laptop market depend almost completely on the willingness of major OEMs to coöperate with the company.
As our testing last week alluded to AMD’s Kaveri is a relatively potent low power chip. This bodes well for AMD’s laptop efforts this year. But at the same time it’s important to keep expectations in check especially with Intel’s continuing focus on this segment and upcoming Broadwell update. Kaveri is set to be a stronger performer in the mobile space than the Trinity or Richland chips that came before it. But the proof is in the purchases; and until we have premium Kaveri powered notebooks in-hand it will be hard to believe that AMD has finally convinced OEMs to use its chips in those products.S|A