When AMD announced its first tablet APU earlier this year, codenamed Desna, it was obvious that the chip was more a proof-of-concept than an actual shipping part. Factors outside AMD’s control, such as the limitations of Windows 7 when running on a tablet, have kept consumer interest in x86 tablets to a minimum.
Nevertheless, MSI’s AMD-powered Windpad 110W is about to have company. A Taiwanese manufacturer, Bungbungame, has developed a device based on AMD’s Z-01, dubbed the Photon-100. The tablet features an AMD Z01 APU, Windows 7 Home Premium, a 10.1-inch multi-touch screen, 4GB DDR3 memory, 64GB SSD and a weight of 820 grams, BungBungame indicated. The tablet PC is produced by Taiwan-based Askey Computer on an OEM basis.
Bungbungame is mostly an application developer, but reports that it created the Photon-100 when its customers were unhappy with existing tablets that didn’t meet their needs. The company has already received some 7-8,000 preorders for the device and will showcase it at CES 2012 this year.
We expect to see a handful of x86 tablets running Android at CES, but most of the buzz around such devices will focus on Windows 8 and the 2013 timeframe. AMD’s Z-01 tablet APU is essentially a cherry-picked Ontario without Turbo Mode that’s capable of operating at lower voltages than the 1.05-1.35v specified for AMD’s standard C-50 part. The Z-01′s TDP of 5.9W is 35 percent lower than Ontario’s 9W, but still far too high to compete with the likes of the iPad 2. Intel’s Medfield is supposed to address this when it launches this year, while AMD’s 28nm Bobcat processors (when they eventually appear) should also put the company on a much stronger competitive footing.
Nevertheless, these wins are important for AMD when it comes to building momentum around a portfolio of tablet-oriented products. We expect AMD to make major announcements on this front come February.