AMD Fusion fits APAC market

update New line of chips suited for emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region due to its small form factor and energy-saving properties, says AMD exec.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

update SINGAPORE--AMD's new line of accelerated processing units (APUs) will be especially relevant to the Asia-Pacific market as it provides value and differentiation to entry-level notebooks, according to an AMD executive.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia on the sidelines of AMD Asia-Pacific Fusion Tech Day here Wednesday, Ben Williams, AMD's corporate vice president and Asia-Pacific general manager, said that Fusion-based systems will offer advantages such as energy efficiency and compact form factor to entry-level notebooks. This market segment is well-received in emerging markets, many of which are in the region.

In developing markets, small form factor laptops are viewed "very positively" by first-time PC buyers, said Williams.

"[Users] want mobility and they also want long battery life because in a lot of rural areas, power isn't always constant or consistent," he pointed out, adding that AMD's Fusion technology is capable of "all-day battery life" of up 10 hours or more.

According to an IDC analyst, users from emerging markets often "leapfrog" from desktops to laptops when adopting their first personal systems. During the event, Bryan Ma, associate vice president for devices and peripherals at IDC Asia-Pacific's domain research and practice groups, attributed the adoption pattern to cheaper laptops and the growth of social networking sites.

In his forecast, Ma said portable PCs in the region will grow at a double-digit rate this year. He noted the growth rate of mobile computers in India is highest at 40 percent, followed by Indonesia at over 35 percent. The greater China market is expected to grow between 20 and 25 percent, he added.

Ma noted that despite the excitement surrounding slate devices, notebooks will still constitute the bulk of mobile computer sales. According to Ma, notebooks accounted for 82 percent of portable PC shipments in 2010, while tablets made up 5 percent of units shipped. By 2014, laptops will dip slightly to 80 percent of total portable PC shipments; tablets will account for 16 percent.

While tablets will not cannibalize the laptop market, Ma said these touch-screen devices are growing at the expense of the netbook segment.

AMD prepped for tablets
Despite reports pinpointing the recent departure of AMD CEO Dirk Meyer to the executive's failure to address the tablet market, AMD's vice president of worldwide product marketing Leslie Sobon said the company is well prepared for the tablet market.

The chipmaker's Bobcat processor, announced back in 2007, was designed "from ground up" for tablet devices, small form factor and embedded devices, she said in her presentation. According to her, Acer has already announced an AMD-powered tablet while other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will follow with their own.

However, processors for tablets and embedded products will not be AMD's No. 1 priority this year, Sobon told ZDNet Asia. Instead, it will focus on gaining market share in the overall PC market as there is still a huge addressable market, she said.

Williams added that the company will continue to execute its 2011 strategy and build momentum in the region, despite Meyer's departure.

At the event, the company announced the availability of the APUs in the region. According to AMD, 35 new system designs based on the Fusion platform will be launched in the region by partners including Acer, Asus, Dell and Fujitsu.

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