AMD has been on a hiring spree, picking two former Apple and Qualcomm engineers. This has led to suggestions that the Sunnyvale, California-based chipmaker is planning to carve out a professional tablet market.
FirePro is AMD's professional workstation graphics solution, aimed at computer-aided design (CAD) and digital content creation (DCC) professionals. Putting this graphics processing unit (GPU) inside a tablet transforms what is generally--but inaccurately--seen as a content-consumption device into a high-performance content-creation device.
AMD already has FirePro APUs listed on its website, the A300-series. This is aimed at entry-level and mainstream CAD and DSS workstations. These APUs are based on the "Trinity" architecture and have a TDP of 65W and 100W for the A300 and A320, respectively, which are far too high for tablet applications. This means that the APU running the tablet is a prototype, likely a modified "Hondo" part with professional graphics capabilities and certification.
This tablet gives AMD a massive advantage. While the likes of Nvidia and Qualcomm have ARM-based chips that can run Windows RT, AMD's APU would be able to run Windows 8 Pro along with regular desktop apps. This would give AMD an enormous advantage over the competition.
The question is, is there actually a market for professional tablets? If there is, AMD could be in a position to be the first to enter this new high profit margin sector.