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Urgent search for an Intel savior

Update: Third-generation ultrabooks may be able to achieve 40% of notebook shipments, say players [DIGITIMES, Dec 11, 2012]

As Intel failed to achieve its goal of having ultrabooks account for 40% of total notebook shipments with its Ivy Bridge platform, and the proportion only reached about 10%, sources from notebook players believe the goal may be achievable with the upcoming Haswell platform, which is set to launch at the end of second-quarter, 2013.

The sources pointed out that compared to Ivy Bridge, Haswell’s stronger performance and cheaper price, plus the expectation that Windows 8 should become more standardized by then, should mean ultrabooks have a chance to account for 40% of total notebook shipments by the end of 2013.
Although vendors have released ultra-like notebooks with prices around US$699-899 as alternatives, since these devices lack attractiveness in terms of design and weight, while ultrabook models with specifications similar to the MacBook Air have prices a lot higher than the MacBook Air, most consumers have turned to purchase Apple’s product instead, the sources noted.

Chips are down for Intel’s CEO [Euronews YouTube channel, Nov 19, 2012]

The head of the computer chip giant Intel is to retire next year. Paul Ottelini has been CEO since 2005. The company that dominates personal computers has been struggling recently, mainly due to the consumer’s new love-affair with smart-phones and tablets, technology where Britain’s ARM Holdings is king. Intel, which is known for finding chief execs from within the company, said they would also consider external candidates.

After what I’ve described in Steven Sinofsky, ex Microsoft: The victim of an extremely complex web of the “western world” high-tech interests [Nov 13, 2012], Intel Haswell: “Mobile computing is not limited to tiny, low-performing devices” [Nov 15, 2012] and Boosting both the commodity and premium brand markets in 2013 with much more smartphones and tablets while the Windows notebook shipments will shrink by 2% [Nov 20, 2012] the news that Intel has an urgent need to find a new CEO is not a surprise for me at all.

Quite obviously Intel’s long-time business model suddenly looks like as unsustainable for the year 2013 (which also happens to be its fiscal year) not only for me as:
From: Intel CEO Paul Otellini to Retire in May [Intel press release, Nov 19, 2012]

… Paul Otellini, has decided to retire as an officer and director at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting in May, starting an orderly leadership transition over the next six months. …

The board of directors will conduct the process to choose Otellini’s successor and will consider internal and external candidates for the job.

In addition, the company also announced that the board has approved the promotion of three senior leaders to the position of executive vice president: Renee James, head of Intel’s software business; Brian Krzanich, chief operating officer and head of worldwide manufacturing; and Stacy Smith, chief financial officer and director of corporate strategy.

From: Intel Corporation Hoped Otellini Would Stay Another Year As CEO [ValueWalk, Nov 20, 2012]

Andy Bryant, chairman of the board of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) hoped Paul Otellini could stay one more year as chief executive officer (CEO) of the company. During an Interview with Barron’s yesterday, Bryant admitted that he was surprised last week when Otellini  told him that he will retire by May next year.

“I did everything I can think of to buy myself another year [of Otellini’s leaderhip]. We were targeting further out for this,” said Bryant.

During the interview with Barron’s, Bryant said the mobile market is still a big challenge for the company. According to him,”After almost 40 years at Intel, and the Intel CEO job for 8 years, which is a really hard job, he felt it was time to move to the next generation of leadership. We do have big issues in front of us, moving to the tablet and phone markets, and he was ready to let the next generation lead those battles.”

According to him, finding a replacement for Otellini is another challenge. Intel will search for the next CEO inside and outside the company. He is considering five senior executives as candidates for the position, including Renee James, the head of software; Brian Krzanich, head of manufacturing; Stacy Smith, chief financial officer; Dadi Perlmutter, head of mobile efforts; and Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital.

Ambrish Srivastava, PhD, an analyst at BMO, said it is interesting to know that Intel is willing to hire a CEO outside the company, since the company has a deep rooted internal culture, few came from outside and succeeded.

There was an immediate negative response on the stock market showing that even without any meaningful explanations given by either board or Otellini himself the outlook for Intel turned into a one with less expectations about future performance:

image

And this was only “due to uncertainty with the CEO transition” as was explained by UBS after Intel was downgraded from a “Buy” to “Neutral” by it

There is nevertheless much more behind of this sudden change, as even Intel’s Q3 report had a few question marks hanging in the air, more notably:
From: CFO Commentary on Third-Quarter 2012 Results [Intel, Oct 16, 2012]

Q4 2012 Outlook

Revenue

Revenue is expected to be $13.6B, plus or minus $500M in the fourth quarter. The midpoint of this range would be an increase of 1% from the third quarter. This slight increase in revenue in the fourth quarter reflects the caution we are seeing in the order patterns of our customers as a result of concerns about the global economic environment, ongoing consumer softness in mature markets, and a slowing enterprise market segment.

Gross Margin

Gross margin in the fourth quarter is expected to be 57%, plus or minus a couple points, down 6.3 points from the third quarter. In response to the reductions in our demand forecast we are significantly reducing factory loadings in the fourth quarter, resulting in a forecast of approximately $500M in underutilization charges.

Related information from: Intel Corporation’s CEO Discusses Q3 2012 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Oct 16, 2012]

JoAnne Feeney – Longbow Research

And then as a follow-up, Stacy could you let us know what happened with units versus ASPs in PCs versus servers last quarter?

Stacy Smith – SVP, CFO & Director, Corporate Strategy

Yeah, it’s actually in the CFO commentary JoAnne, but in general we saw PC units up 1% versus the prior quarter and datacenter units were also up 1%. This is a quarter-on-quarter compare.

JoAnne Feeney – Longbow Research

Sorry, and the ASPs?

Stacy Smith – SVP, CFO & Director, Corporate Strategy

The PC ASPs were down 1% and the server ASPs were down 7% based on the mix kind of things that I have been talking about.

And in the Q&A part of that call Otellini himself said that:

… we do believe that when the numbers are all in, the PC consumption did grow in Q3 at about half the normal seasonal rate and will also grow in Q4 about half the normal seasonal rate. How much of that happening is macroeconomic versus the timing of the Windows 8 builds and the share of wallet, war for tablets versus PCs is TBD, and we’ll know a lot more about that 90 days from now after the Windows 8 launch, after we see Intel based tablets start shipping, when people start playing with the operating system and have all the touch based Ultrabooks out there. We’ll know a lot more. So we’ll try to quantify that a bit more for you in 90 days, but right now it’s a bit of each. …

I was just in China a week and a half ago, so there is a fairly current view. I see the same situation. China as a manufacturing center is reflecting the comments that we had in our commentary which is that the OEMs are being very cautious with their inventory comments at this point in time for all the reasons we’ve discussed and it’s as lean as we’ve seen it in normal times without the shortage of let’s say their hard drives of last year.

In terms of the channel inventory, there really isn’t very much. I went into Tier 3 city, you don’t see things stocked up or sacked up on pallet and stuff. People are generally — I think most of our customers worldwide spent a lot of Q3 thinning out their Windows 7 inventory, so they wouldn’t have an overhang at the launch. And that accounts for a lot of this inventory shipped of our billings versus the consumption that we’ve been talking about. And now with the launch of Windows 8 coming in a week or so, you’ll see a new round of build and hopefully consumption.

In terms of demand stimulation, a lot of what we are doing is really to make sure that the feature set of this season’s Ultrabooks are really consistent with where the market is, that’s why we’ve been so focused on working with our customers and the ecosystem just, for example, bring the touch SKUs in. So six to eight months ago that we did not have line of sight to 40 out of a 140 SKUs of Ultrabooks being touch enabled, it was probably five or 10; we are up to 40 now, and that’s just going to get bigger as we go into 2013. So working with the vendors and the glass manufacturers to bring the cost of touch as an increment down has been one of the key things we think we can do to drive demand.

The inventory, I thing is straight forward. The work-in-process and finished goods that we’re expecting to come down over this quarter are our Ivy Bridge products which is the mainstream high-end product we have today. And as the market picks up, Windows 8 launches, Ultrabooks pick up and so forth then that just consumes that inventory. And as I said earlier, in my comments and Stacy’s, our OEMs are running very lean right now. So any kind of demand blip would cause us to be able to reduce that even more perhaps.

In terms of the mix, there is really not much more to add than we put in our pre-release and in the comments today which is that the U.S. and Western Europe PC markets remained soft in terms of consumers. The change that we have seen and we talked about at the pre-announcement was that the enterprise PC market has gone relatively flat now and I think that’s just a reflection of large corporations making hard decisions on CapEx versus people, and where they want to put their investments and now that seems to have spilled over from the client side of the enterprise also the data center server part of the enterprise. And you know I think we will see how that sorts out over the next quarter or so as CEOs and CIOs make their next round of decisions.

In terms of China, the slowdown there was – it’s principally a notebook business and the slowdown there was in consumer notebooks.

China is in their own macroeconomic cycle slowing down, I mean the GDP forecast for the year have come down for next have come down. There is also a reasonable amount of anxiety around the change in government and that tends to put a little bit of nervousness into the system and what I don’t know is how much of that clarifies after they change, because it’s not so much they don’t know who is coming in. The issue is what are the policies, in terms of stimulus and taxation and so forth. They have been pretty generous the last year or so, a year or two rather, in terms of stimulating domestic consumption and the question is will those polices continue or not.

This earlier information given by Otellini himself and the current “supply chain” point of view collected in my post Boosting both the commodity and premium brand markets in 2013 with much more smartphones and tablets while the Windows notebook shipments will shrink by 2% [Nov 20, 2012] are definitely pointing to the following true reasons behind Otellini’s sudden departure, as reported by just very few media sources only:
Otellini Exits Intel, With Windows 8 Fate Uncertain [InformationWeek, Nov 20, 2012]
Intel chief logs off as rest of the world leaves PCs behind [The Times, Nov 20, 2012]
‘Old hands lack skills to lead Intel into mobile age’ [Bloomberg via BusinessReport, Nov 21, 2012]
Intel CEO Paul Otellini to leave company in major shake-up [Computeractive, Nov 20, 2012]

And here is a quite sarcastic but also quite true reporting:
While the Intel board was firing Paul Otellini they should have fired themselves, too [Cringely on technology, Nov 20, 2012]

So in reality it is an absolutely inevitable thing what is going now with Intel. Here is the only video comment properly reflecting that:
Intel Could Use CEO With Mobile Skills, Wang Says [Bloomberg YouTube channel, Nov 20, 2012]

Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) — Patrick Wang, an analyst at Evercore Partners Inc., talks about Intel Corp. Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini’s plan to retire in May and the outlook for his replacement. Wang speaks with Jon Erlichman, Pimm Fox and Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.” (Source: Bloomberg)

 

Background information in the full:

Intel CEO Paul Otellini to Retire in May [Intel press release, Nov 19, 2012]

Intel Corporation today announced that the company’s president and CEO, Paul Otellini, has decided to retire as an officer and director at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting in May, starting an orderly leadership transition over the next six months. Otellini’s decision to retire will bring to a close a remarkable career of nearly 40 years of continuous service to the company and its stockholders.

“Paul Otellini has been a very strong leader, only the fifth CEO in the company’s great 45-year history, and one who has managed the company through challenging times and market transitions,” said Andy Bryant, chairman of the board. “The board is grateful for his innumerable contributions to the company and his distinguished tenure as CEO over the last eight years.”

“I’ve been privileged to lead one of the world’s greatest companies,” Otellini said. “After almost four decades with the company and eight years as CEO, it’s time to move on and transfer Intel’s helm to a new generation of leadership. I look forward to working with Andy, the board and the management team during the six-month transition period, and to being available as an advisor to management after retiring as CEO.”

The board of directors will conduct the process to choose Otellini’s successor and will consider internal and external candidates for the job.

In addition, the company also announced that the board has approved the promotion of three senior leaders to the position of executive vice president: Renee James, head of Intel’s software business; Brian Krzanich, chief operating officer and head of worldwide manufacturing; and Stacy Smith, chief financial officer and director of corporate strategy.

During Otellini’s tenure as CEO — from the second quarter of 2005 through the third quarter of 2012 — Intel:

  • Generated cash from operations of $107 billion
  • Made $23.5 billion in dividend payments
  • Increased the quarterly dividend 181 percent from $0.08 to $0.225

From the end of 2005 through the end of 2011, Intel achieved record revenue and net income. During this period, annual revenue grew from $38.8 billion to $54 billion, while annual earnings-per-share grew from $1.40 to $2.39.

In addition to financial performance, Intel, under Otellini’s leadership, achieved notable successes in areas of strategic importance. During this period, the company:

  • Transformed operations and the cost structure for long-term growth
  • Achieved breakthrough innovations, including High-K/Metal gate and now 3-D Tri-gate transistors; and dramatic improvement in energy efficiency of Intel processors
  • Reinvented the PC with Ultrabook™ devices
  • Greatly expanded business partnerships and made strategic acquisitions that expanded Intel’s presence in security, software and mobile communications
  • Delivered the first smartphones and tablets for sale with Intel inside
  • Grew the vast network of cloud-based computing built on Intel products

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) is a world leader in computing innovation. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world’s computing devices. Additional information about Intel is available atnewsroom.intel.com and blogs.intel.com.

Intel, the Intel logo and Ultrabook are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries.

*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

Intel Corporation’s CEO Discusses Q3 2012 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Oct 16, 2012]

In the coming months consumers will see tremendous form factor and industrial design innovation. There will be more than 140 Core based Ultrabooks, more than 40 of which will have touch. This will include more than a dozen convertibles that combine the productivity of the laptop with the convenience of a tablet.

Many of the Ultrabook SKUs will hit the mainstream $699 price point with some Burst SKUs well below even that number. Q4 will see more than 20 Atom based tablets from six or more leading OEMs using Clover Trail. Clover Trail is a brand new SoC that will enable tablets as thin as 8.5 millimeters and as light as 1.5 pounds.

With three weeks of connected standby battery life and all of the compatibility that Windows users and Intel customers have come to expect, I am excited about the these products and the capabilities they bring to consumers and the enterprise.

Last month at IDF, we shared details of our next-generation Core processor codenamed Haswell. Originally targeted at 15 watts, we have made significant advancements in micro-architecture and process technology that will allow us to move Haswell down into the 10 watt envelope fostering even more innovation in form factor as well as new usage models like gesture computing and voice recognition.

John Pitzer – Credit Suisse

Paul, how do you assess how much of what’s going on in the PC market right now; is macro, timing of Windows 8 versus kind of the more structural bearish view that tablets and smartphones are just plain and simple eating into PC TAM. How do you think about those dynamics?

Paul Otellini – President & CEO

I think it’s a bit of each and I would be reticent to quantify it John. Clearly, we saw a softening in the consumer segments. We talked about that when we did the pre-announcement about a month ago and the surprise there was that China which had been very strong in those current week on us on top of continuing weakness in the mature markets of U.S. and Western Europe.

However, having said that, we do believe that when the numbers are all in, the PC consumption did grow in Q3 at about half the normal seasonal rate and will also grow in Q4 about half the normal seasonal rate. How much of that happening is macroeconomic versus the timing of the Windows 8 builds and the share of wallet, war for tablets versus PCs is TBD, and we’ll know a lot more about that 90 days from now after the Windows 8 launch, after we see Intel based tablets start shipping, when people start playing with the operating system and have all the touch based Ultrabooks out there. We’ll know a lot more. So we’ll try to quantify that a bit more for you in 90 days, but right now it’s a bit of each.

David Wong – Wells Fargo

Thanks very much. You commented on Clover Trail tablet; are you seeing many Ivy Bridge tablet designs in addition to the Microsoft Surface and can you give us some idea of how many tablet makers you are currently working with on Haswell tablets for the future?

Paul Otellini – President & CEO

I can help you on the former, not the latter. On Ivy Bridge, you know, there is, I would say, a handful, five to eight, something like that that I’ve seen off the top of my head. And for Haswell, it’s too soon to tell, I mean we have, when you start seeing an Ultrabook with a detachable touch screen, is it a tablet and it’s based on Haswell, so the tablet is an Ultrabook or is it a convertible, you know, I don’t know; lots of inventive names for these things as we go along. What I can tell you is that the level of innovation there is really unbounded; I haven’t seen this in a long time.

But, I think in terms of, just little bit near term selling season, there are some Ivy Bridge ones. They tend to be skewed more towards to the enterprise, where our customers believe that their customers, the CIOs of the world want a high performance tablet that is compatible, that is secure and that runs all their enterprise software. So I think that’s where you’ll see those migrate versus I think Clover Trail stuff which was going to be a bit more consumer centric.

David Wong – Wells Fargo

Great. And, you said you expect to qualify Haswell in the March quarter, will Haswell be appearing in systems in the March quarter or should we look for that a bit later in the year?

Paul Otellini – President & CEO

The first half.

Christopher Danely – JPMorgan

Thanks guys. So Paul can you just give us maybe just your take on what you think is going to take to pull the PC industry out of this slunk? And do you think that with the advent of tablets cannibalizing notebooks that we’re never going to see the growth in PCs we used to; is it going to be something lower than what we have been used to?

Paul Otellini – President & CEO

Again, since we don’t know how much of the flatness that we’re seeing this year in PCs as a function of which of those variables that we talked about earlier, it’s pretty hard to say that in good economic cycles that we wouldn’t return to normal growth. But, what I get back to as I lookout here, I don’t think and I said this to you guys before, I don’t think that the tablet as we’ve seen it evolve over the last several years is the end state of computing.

The innovation is going to start pouring in now that you have widely available SKUs on a widely distributed operating system that will come from multiple vendors that can unleash their creativity. And, what I can’t predict is what form factor is going to win here, but I do think that some of these things that have sort of the best of both worlds, the performance and the capability of a laptop and the form factor and convenience of a tablet, are likely to be the things that are most high volumes earners, but we honestly won’t know for 12 months.

CJ Muse – Barclays

Yeah, thank you for taking my question. I guess just as a follow-up on the inventory side. Can you discuss what you have seen downstream particularly in China and then also as part of the healthy days, my math suggest exiting December at roughly 75 days. Is that kind of the new normal we should think about for you guys in a lower PC growth rate environment or do you think that you need to be some thing lower?

Paul Otellini – President & CEO

Let me try the China one CJ, and Stacy will come to the inventory.

Stacy Smith – SVP, CFO & Director, Corporate Strategy

And I’ll do the second. Yeah.

Paul Otellini – President & CEO

I was just in China a week and a half ago, so there is a fairly current view. I see the same situation. China as a manufacturing center is reflecting the comments that we had in our commentary which is that the OEMs are being very cautious with their inventory comments at this point in time for all the reasons we’ve discussed and it’s as lean as we’ve seen it in normal times without the shortage of let’s say their hard drives of last year.

In terms of the channel inventory, there really isn’t very much. I went into Tier 3 city, you don’t see things stocked up or sacked up on pallet and stuff. People are generally — I think most of our customers worldwide spent a lot of Q3 thinning out their Windows 7 inventory, so they wouldn’t have an overhang at the launch. And that accounts for a lot of this inventory shipped of our billings versus the consumption that we’ve been talking about. And now with the launch of Windows 8 coming in a week or so, you’ll see a new round of build and hopefully consumption.

Stacy Smith – SVP, CFO & Director, Corporate Strategy

Yeah and in terms of the inventory targets, the number you threw out is in the 70s is where we’re planning to get to in Q4. Just to put that in perspective maybe two other comments on what we’re doing. One is we are taking down utilization in the factories down to sub 50%, again to take inventory out and free up the opportunity to move both space and equipment and redirect that to 14-nanometer. So it’s a pretty significant series of actions. And I also want to point to the inventory that we have in place while it’s in terms of units more than I want to hold. It’s on the order of 70% Ivy Bridge, so it’s our freshest stuff. I am not worried about the salability of the inventory, but I do want to bring the Ivy Bridge inventory levels down. It’s just healthy for us to have less.

Daniel Berenbaum – MKM Partners

When you talk about clearing inventory, does pricing come into play in any fashion on the PC, just talk about pricing a little bit on the Data Center side, clearing inventory on either the consumer side or the enterprise side, is that helping? And then follow-up also a little bit on an earlier question, is there anything else that Intel can be doing to spur demand? We’ve already seen sort of Microsoft take matters a bit into their own hands with some of the designs that they are trying to sell; is pricing help you spur demand or is there something else that you can do?

Paul Otellini – President & CEO

The short answer to your question is no on pricing. We do forward pricing with our customers. It’s priced I think aggressively to move into the mainstream price points in terms of the stuff I talked about. If you look at our PC group numbers quarter-over-quarter, the ASP was about flat year-over-year. It was down a bit, mobile was down a bit. What that reflects was really us going after some incremental share at the bottom of the market, so didn’t really change pricing but it changed the mix, and we thought it was time we could do some of that and we did it opportunistically. That’s more the driver on that side.

In terms of demand stimulation, a lot of what we are doing is really to make sure that the feature set of this season’s Ultrabooks are really consistent with where the market is, that’s why we’ve been so focused on working with our customers and the ecosystem just, for example, bring the touch SKUs in. So six to eight months ago that we did not have line of sight to 40 out of a 140 SKUs of Ultrabooks being touch enabled, it was probably five or 10; we are up to 40 now, and that’s just going to get bigger as we go into 2013. So working with the vendors and the glass manufacturers to bring the cost of touch as an increment down has been one of the key things we think we can do to drive demand.

Daniel Berenbaum – MKM Partners

And related to pricing, you’ve obviously got a wounded competitor out there now. Are you seeing that competitor get aggressive on pricing, especially in this environment? Your competitor talked about a big inventory write-down in its negative preannouncement; are you seeing lower pricing there and is that in any way impacting you?

Paul Otellini – President & CEO

I think you would have to ask them their strategy for pricing. As Paul said, we had last quarter and this quarter, we believe, we’ve won some share at the lower end of the market; that’s our strategy here. So you’ve got to ask them the question about their pricing strategy.

JoAnne Feeney – Longbow Research

Yeah, I was hoping you can elaborate a little bit more on what you are seeing and what you saw last quarter and what you expect this quarter in terms of the mix of demand, both across consumer and enterprise geographically and then PC, you know, notebooks, desktops; just some more color if you would on what kind of mix you are seeing out there and where you expect it to go and what you’re relying on to get those inventories clear say by the beginning of 2013?

Paul Otellini – President & CEO

Well, let me start with the last part. The inventory, I thing is straight forward. The work-in-process and finished goods that we’re expecting to come down over this quarter are our Ivy Bridge products which is the mainstream high-end product we have today. And as the market picks up, Windows 8 launches, Ultrabooks pick up and so forth then that just consumes that inventory. And as I said earlier, in my comments and Stacy’s, our OEMs are running very lean right now. So any kind of demand blip would cause us to be able to reduce that even more perhaps.

In terms of the mix, there is really not much more to add than we put in our pre-release and in the comments today which is that the U.S. and Western Europe PC markets remained soft in terms of consumers. The change that we have seen and we talked about at the pre-announcement was that the enterprise PC market has gone relatively flat now and I think that’s just a reflection of large corporations making hard decisions on CapEx versus people, and where they want to put their investments and now that seems to have spilled over from the client side of the enterprise also the data center server part of the enterprise. And you know I think we will see how that sorts out over the next quarter or so as CEOs and CIOs make their next round of decisions.

In terms of China, the slowdown there was – it’s principally a notebook business and the slowdown there was in consumer notebooks.

Stacy Smith – SVP, CFO & Director, Corporate Strategy

And I’ll just add in the DCG, we saw strength in the Cloud customers and over the course of the quarter weakening in the large enterprise purchases of server chips. So the mix there was more towards the Cloud.

Paul Otellini – President & CEO

Mix had been strong in the first half.

Stacy Smith – SVP, CFO & Director, Corporate Strategy

Mix had been strong in the first half, yeah.

JoAnne Feeney – Longbow Research

And then as a follow-up, Stacy could you let us know what happened with units versus ASPs in PCs versus servers last quarter?

Stacy Smith – SVP, CFO & Director, Corporate Strategy

Yeah, it’s actually in the CFO commentary JoAnne, but in general we saw PC units up 1% versus the prior quarter and datacenter units were also up 1%. This is a quarter-on-quarter compare.

JoAnne Feeney – Longbow Research

Sorry, and the ASPs?

Stacy Smith – SVP, CFO & Director, Corporate Strategy

The PC ASPs were down 1% and the server ASPs were down 7% based on the mix kind of things that I have been talking about.

Patrick Wang – Evercore Partners

Great, thanks so much. First question, I want to see if we can go back to China and Paul may be kind of recap some of the feedback you are hearing from those meetings you did have, because it seems like the slowdown in China is really impacting global PC demand and weakness out there. So just curious what the latest you are hearing?

Paul Otellini – President & CEO

Well, what I don’t know is how much of this is and China is in their own macroeconomic cycle slowing down, I mean the GDP forecast for the year have come down for next have come down. There is also a reasonable amount of anxiety around the change in government and that tends to put a little bit of nervousness into the system and what I don’t know is how much of that clarifies after they change, because it’s not so much they don’t know who is coming in. The issue is what are the policies, in terms of stimulus and taxation and so forth. They have been pretty generous the last year or so, a year or two rather, in terms of stimulating domestic consumption and the question is will those polices continue or not.

Patrick Wang – Evercore Partners

I want to talk quickly about Data Center. The trend that we’re seeing in ASPs right now are down since the last quarter; I am just kind of curious how you see that over the next couple of years, because when we take a lot at your Cloud segment, you’re forecasting pretty robust growth there. You talked about 50% growth last quarter. As that continues to really outstrip growth from your more traditional server customers, what kind of impact does that do to your blended ASPs?

Paul Otellini – President & CEO

Well, I think the better comparison for us the Data Center is year-on-year, for which the ASP was up a bit, up 1%. The down a bit was really a big shift in the mix between what would be normal enterprise growth and of slowing in the enterprise growth. In general, for storage, for networking and I think for some aspects of the internet data center the mix was actually quite good. Sometimes they – two way machines versus four way machines, but they tend to be fairly high mix and one of the fastest growing elements of the business is high performance computing which buyers buys at the top of the line of our skews. As those product lines get flushed out more and more, I really don’t see the mix shifting away from where it’s been in the first half of this year; I see the current mix being a bit of an anomaly as a result of the softness of corporate datacenter server purchases.

Glen Yeung – Citi

Stacy, maybe the first question for you. As you sort of think about your capacity for 2013 and you are obviously taking action now, what kind of PC environment are you notionally targeting and maybe just in up or down is sufficient unless you want to be more specific?

Stacy Smith – SVP, CFO & Director, Corporate Strategy

Yeah, I am going to be less specific. If you wanted the other, yeah either up or down; hold off on triangulating on a capital forecast or on a unit growth until we get to next quarter. The CapEx number as I said is going to be really be dependent on where we think unit growth is in ‘13 and ‘14 and right now we’re fighting through Q4. There is a lack of visibility on the current quarter; I want to have the 90 days to really think about what we want to put in place.

Glen Yeung – Citi

And then Paul maybe next question for you. Notionally, we won’t expect to see when we have an operating transition like we’re seeing a spark to PC demand and yet we don’t seem to be seeing that and I wonder if you could just give us your thoughts as to why you think this time that’s not happening?

Paul Otellini – President & CEO

Yeah, I don’t think, we know it’s not happening yet. I am very excited about this new operating system. As I said earlier, it brings touch into the mainstream for the first time and we know that in the last couple of years the tablets have changed the paradigm for people to use computers, they like touch, they like to make the photos get larger with their fingers and everything else is good about that. And so I think we haven’t had a chance to really judge how the consumers will embrace this in the mainstream PC space or not.

I am very optimistic as we’ve been playing with these things and we see the products being built and we take them out for testing to consumer and we’ve now on test on Windows 8, touch enabled Ultrabooks in number of the major cities around the world, across multiple demographics. The feedback is universally positive. So I think we’re just too soon to tell. The designs aren’t even launched yet and we’ll know a lot more about this 90 days from now.

Intel Reports Third-Quarter Revenue of $13.5 Billion [Intel press release, Oct 16, 2012]

Intel Corporation today reported quarterly revenue of $13.5 billion, operating income of $3.8 billion, net income of $3.0 billion and EPS of $0.58. The company generated approximately $5.1 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $1.1 billion and used $1.2 billion to repurchase stock.

Our third-quarter results reflected a continuing tough economic environment,” said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO. “The world of computing is in the midst of a period of breakthrough innovation and creativity. As we look to the fourth quarter, we’re pleased with the continued progress in Ultrabooks and phones and excited about the range of Intel-based tablets coming to market.”

Q3 2012 Key Financial Information and Business Unit Trends (GAAP, unless otherwise stated)

  • PC Client Group revenue of $8.6 billion, flat sequentially and down 8 percent year-over-year
  • Data Center Group revenue of $2.7 billion, down 5 percent sequentially and up 6 percent year-over-year
  • Other Intel® architecture group revenue of $1.2 billion, up 6 percent sequentially and down 14 percent year-over-year
  • Gross margin of 63.3 percent, 1.3 percentage points above the midpoint of the company’s updated expectation of 62 percent.
  • R&D plus MG&A spending $4.6 billion, unchanged.
  • Tax rate of 24 percent, below the company’s expectation of approximately 28 percent.

Business Outlook

Intel’s Business Outlook does not include the potential impact of any business combinations, asset acquisitions, divestitures or other investments that may be completed after Oct. 16.

Q4 2012 (GAAP, unless otherwise stated)

  • Revenue: $13.6 billion, plus or minus $500 million.
  • Gross margin percentage: 57 percent and 58 percent Non-GAAP (excluding amortization of acquisition-related intangibles), both plus or minus a couple of percentage points.
  • R&D plus MG&A spending: approximately $4.5 billion.
  • Amortization of acquisition-related intangibles: approximately $75 million.
  • Impact of equity investments and interest and other: approximately $75 million.
  • Depreciation: approximately $1.6 billion.
  • Tax Rate: approximately 27 percent.
  • Full-year capital spending: $11.3 billion, plus or minus $300 million.

For additional information regarding Intel’s results and Business Outlook, please see the CFO commentary at:www.intc.com/results.cfm.

Status of Business Outlook

Intel’s Business Outlook is posted on intc.com and may be reiterated in public or private meetings with investors and others. The Business Outlook will be effective through the close of business Dec. 14 unless earlier updated; except that the Business Outlook for amortization of acquisition-related intangibles, impact of equity investments and interest and other, and tax rate, will be effective only through the close of business on Oct. 23. Intel’s Quiet Period will start from the close of business on Dec. 14 until publication of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings release, scheduled for Jan. 17, 2013. During the Quiet Period, all of the Business Outlook and other forward-looking statements disclosed in the company’s news releases and filings with the SEC should be considered as historical, speaking as of prior to the Quiet Period only and not subject to an update by the company.

Risk Factors

The above statements and any others in this document that refer to plans and expectations for the fourth quarter, the year and the future are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Words such as “anticipates,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates,” “may,” “will,” “should” and their variations identify forward-looking statements. Statements that refer to or are based on projections, uncertain events or assumptions also identify forward-looking statements. Many factors could affect Intel’s actual results, and variances from Intel’s current expectations regarding such factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements. Intel presently considers the following to be the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the company’s expectations.

  • Demand could be different from Intel’s expectations due to factors including changes in business and economic conditions, including supply constraints and other disruptions affecting customers; customer acceptance of Intel’s and competitors’ products; changes in customer order patterns including order cancellations; and changes in the level of inventory at customers. Uncertainty in global economic and financial conditions poses a risk that consumers and businesses may defer purchases in response to negative financial events, which could negatively affect product demand and other related matters.
  • Intel operates in intensely competitive industries that are characterized by a high percentage of costs that are fixed or difficult to reduce in the short term and product demand that is highly variable and difficult to forecast. Revenue and the gross margin percentage are affected by the timing of Intel product introductions and the demand for and market acceptance of Intel’s products; actions taken by Intel’s competitors, including product offerings and introductions, marketing programs and pricing pressures and Intel’s response to such actions; and Intel’s ability to respond quickly to technological developments and to incorporate new features into its products.
  • The gross margin percentage could vary significantly from expectations based on capacity utilization; variations in inventory valuation, including variations related to the timing of qualifying products for sale; changes in revenue levels; segment product mix; the timing and execution of the manufacturing ramp and associated costs; start-up costs; excess or obsolete inventory; changes in unit costs; defects or disruptions in the supply of materials or resources; product manufacturing quality/yields; and impairments of long-lived assets, including manufacturing, assembly/test and intangible assets.
  • The tax rate expectation is based on current tax law and current expected income. The tax rate may be affected by the jurisdictions in which profits are determined to be earned and taxed; changes in the estimates of credits, benefits and deductions; the resolution of issues arising from tax audits with various tax authorities, including payment of interest and penalties; and the ability to realize deferred tax assets.
  • Gains or losses from equity securities and interest and other could vary from expectations depending on gains or losses on the sale, exchange, change in the fair value or impairments of debt and equity investments; interest rates; cash balances; and changes in fair value of derivative instruments. The majority of our marketable equity security portfolio balance is concentrated in ASML Holding, N.V, and declines in value could result in impairment charges, impacting gains or losses on equity securities.
  • Intel’s results could be affected by adverse economic, social, political and physical/infrastructure conditions in countries where Intel, its customers or its suppliers operate, including military conflict and other security risks, natural disasters, infrastructure disruptions, health concerns and fluctuations in currency exchange rates.
  • Expenses, particularly certain marketing and compensation expenses, as well as restructuring and asset impairment charges, vary depending on the level of demand for Intel’s products and the level of revenue and profits.
  • Intel’s results could be affected by the timing of closing of acquisitions and divestitures.
  • Intel’s results could be affected by adverse effects associated with product defects and errata (deviations from published specifications), and by litigation or regulatory matters involving intellectual property, stockholder, consumer, antitrust, disclosure and other issues, such as the litigation and regulatory matters described in Intel’s SEC reports. An unfavorable ruling could include monetary damages or an injunction prohibiting Intel from manufacturing or selling one or more products, precluding particular business practices, impacting Intel’s ability to design its products, or requiring other remedies such as compulsory licensing of intellectual property.

    Earnings Webcast

    Intel will hold a public webcast at 2 p.m. PDT today on its Investor Relations website at www.intc.com. A webcast replay and MP3 download will also be available on the site.

    Intel plans to report its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2012 on Jan. 17, 2013. Immediately following the earnings report, the company plans to publish a commentary by Stacy J. Smith, senior vice president and chief financial officer, atwww.intc.com/results.cfm. A public webcast of Intel’s earnings conference call will follow at 2 p.m. PDT at www.intc.com.

Pixel Qi finding ruggedized devices are the 2012 opportunity

In addition we have got many design wins what is the next crop of tablets and other mobile devices coming out this year. We will see how those will do against Apple and so forth.” Then: “A small fab can produce one million panels a day. … A couple of million dollars are needed to adjust the process for Pixel Qi. … A committed order of at least half million is needed to start. … We have 1st tier design wins now. We will see what will come out of that.
Mary Lou Jepsen in the very last video from Charbax (see embedded in the end)

Pixel Qi sunlight readable displays at CES 2012 [Jan 11, 2012]

Pixel Qi’s LCD displays work in direct sunlight and can be used without a backlight. Turning off the light makes the screens look nearly black and white, but cuts the screen’s power consumption by as much as 80 percent. In an Android tablet, the screen could use as much as 75 percent of the device’s power.

from the accompanying Liliputing article:

The company has been showing off its display technology for the past few years, but few consumer products have shipped with Pixel Qi screens. The Notion Ink Adam tablet was available with an optional 10 inch, 1024 x 600 Pixel Qi screen, and the OLPC XO 3.0 tablet will also be available with a Pixel Qi display. But the display company has also had success with more specific markets where outdoor readable displays are a necessityrather than an option.

For instance, military tablets with GPS have been used by paratroopers who need to land on the ground and situate themselves immediately without first looking for shade. Pixel Qi has also been talking to companies interested in using sunlight readable displays in cars, trucks, tractors, and other motor vehicles.

At CES, Pixel Qi is showing off the same three screen sizes and resolutions as last year:

  • 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel
  • 10 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel
  • 10 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel

But the company has improved viewing angles and reflection. The screens still don’t have the best viewing angles around. If you look at the display from too sharp an angle, colors will wash out — but that’s not a problem that’s unique to Pixel Qi. While some high-quality devices with IPS displays can be viewed from nearly 180 angles without any loss of clarity, many other cheaper displays offer poorer viewing angles.

Coming 2012! SOL’s 7″ Android-Windows Tablet [SOL Computer, Jan 13, 2012]

Android Tablet "7

Sol Computer introduced a 10 inch Windows netbook and 10 inch Windows tablet with Pixel Qi sunlight viewable displays last year. Now the company is adding two new 7 inch modelsto its lineup, one with Google Android, and another with Windows.

Pixel Qi screens are dual-mode LCD displays which work as full-color screens when the backlight is on, or high-contrast, nearly black-and white displays with the screen off. What makes them special is that you can still see the screens even when the backlight is off, using nothing but ambient light.

Sol founder Chris Swanner says the tablets and netbooks have been popular with pilots and other professionals that work outdoors and in bright, sunlit environments where you really don’t want to have to deal with glare — and where a Windows device that can run highly specialized applications is a must.

This is a niche product though, and it costs a lot to add the Pixel Qi screens to a small number of devices. The Windows tablet has an Intel Atom processor, a capactive touchscreen, and a $1099 price tag — and Swanner says he’s not making a lot of profit at that level. But he’s selling around 20 to 30 devices a month. If volume were to go up, pricing could conceivably go down.

The two new tablets will have 7 inch, 1024 x 600 Pixel Qi displays. A prototype of the Android tablet was on-hand at the Consumer Electronics Show, but I was told that the hardware hasn’t been finalized — the plastic case may be sturdier on the final unit.

Sol Computer 7 inch Android tablet with Pixel Qi display [Jan 10, 2012]

This is a 7 inch Android tablet with a Pixel Qi screen. Final pricing and hardware specifications haven’t been finalized yet.

from the accompanying Liliputing article:

Sol doesn’t have a working prototype of the new 7 inch Windows tablet yet, but Cynovo, the Chinese company Sol works with to build its tablets had a similar model with a standard 7 inch LCD display to show.

Pricing hasn’t yet been set for the new 7 inch tablets, but they’re expected to cost less than the 10 inch, $1099 model.

The New Sol Tablet PC Featuring A 10″ Sunlight Readable Display [SOL Computer, Aug 12, 2011]


$1,099.00

Here is the latest sunlight readable Tablet PC offered by Sol Computer.com. We named it the Sol Tablet PC because it will add “some SOL to your life”. Take this Tablet PC anywhere and you will always be able to see the no glare screen display in brilliant high resolution. We have incorporated the latest Pixel Qi transflective back light technology built into our PC Tablet which provides a unique AntiGlare LED Display. Our Sol Tablet PC can be viewed perfectly in direct sunlight – no other tabletPC or IPad can make such a claim. Also, because the Sol Tablet PC has this antiglare technology built into it’s LED no glare screen, battery consumption is reduced significantly. In fact, this Win 7 Tablet PC, when viewed in full sunlight (reflective mode), LED power consumption is cut by up to 80%. This increases battery life to more than 10 hours!


$59.99

Checkout our Newest Product – DryCASE Tablet™ a flexible, crystal clear waterproof case that allows complete use of your tablet or e-reader while keeping it dry and clean. The vacuum seal takes all the air out of the case so there is no way that water can enter. There can be no exchange of gas (air) for liquid (water). The vacuum seal also allows full use of your touch screen because it seal flush on the face of the tablet.

Only one tablet has been successful in the last year” [in the next video from Charbax Mary Lou Jepsen names as “the tablet from Cupertino everyone is familiar with”, i.e. Apple iPad, saying that “unfortunately we are not in that tablet”] – CFO John Ryan – from the video embedded into the article below:

Pixel Qi Shifting their Business Strategy away from Consumer Electronics [Good e-Reader, Jan 12, 2012]

IMG_7269-1024x682[1]

Pixel Qi is well known for developing a new breed of screens that deliver an unparalleled experience in direct sunlight and draw very low power. The company has seen their technology showcased in the early One Laptop per Child program in Africa, which initially drew industry wide attention to the company. In the last year their screens were featured in various ZTE Tablets in China and recently in the Notion Ink Adam. In the last six months 3M invested heavily in the future of Pixel Qi and has influenced the direction of the company away from consumer electronics to more specialized industries, such as the military.

We have spoken with both the CFO and CEO over the years at various industry events and their decision to gravitate away from the fickle nature of e-readers and tablets was a wise decision. The company instead plans to focus their attention on specialized market segments that would benefit more from their technology and lead to more long-term contracts.

One of the first ways they will deploy their Pixel Qi technology is within the military and give soldiers a new way to receive mission data. If you look at your average paratrooper or ranger they are constantly receiving revised mission parameters and in harsh conditions like a dessert. Being in very bright environments or dark make no different with Pixel Qi, whose very essence is low-power no-glare technology which would make lives easier. Most military operations worldwide still employ maps and written communications, to receive updates to their mission requires many steps and circumstances change many times. The plan is for soldiers to have heavily versatile tablets that last for weeks and are wired into mission control to receive new updates on the fly. Another way their technology will be employed is with the hydro electric community where operators are frequently in high elevations in direct sunlight.

3M’s investment in Pixel Qi is allowing the company to deal with multiple fabs in Taiwan where the company is based and diversify their portfolio. Obviously when you receive a huge investment from a mega-corporation whose reach is all-encompassing you will receive a ton of connections within very specialized niches. 3M is found everywhere from cars, phones, hospitals, and tape. This will turn the company around and we were told in the near future their technology will be everywhere, but in products we will never see. Obviously Pixel Qi is not stepping totally away from the end user experience and they are currently dealing with a number of existing clients in future product launches. Check out our whole interview where CFO John Ryan talks to us in detail about the new direction of the company and demonstrating two new screens they brought with them to CES 2012.

We spoke with CFO John Ryan of Pixel Qi at CES 2012 where he talked about the new direction of the company, the influence of their new investor (3M) and where the company is going for the rest of the year. This is a great interview and gives you an unique prospective you can’t find anywhere but Goodereader.com

Pixel Qi at CES 2012 [Charbax, Jan 15, 2012]

The 1280×800 10.1″ Pixel Qi screen is ready, here it is demonstrated under bright spotlight simulating the sun as well as in some prototypes of upcoming Android tablets. Founder, CEO and inventor Mary Lou Jepsen talks about the latest news from Pixel Qi, where they are going, what they are up to.

VIZIO’s two pronged strategy: Android based V.I.A. Plus device ecosystem + Windows based premium PC entertainment

The VIZIO Internet Apps® Plus (“V.I.A. Plus”) ecosystem of devices was launched on June 28, 2011 with the introduction of VIZIO’s first tablet. Each VIZIO V.I.A. Plus product features a VIZIO-designed user interface that is not only intuitive but also consistent across screens, for superior ease-of-use for the casual, non-technical user. It is built on the Android™ platform. All the information about that innovative ecosystem is available in an earlier “collection post” on this blog: Innovative entertainment class [Android] tablet from VIZIO plus a unified UX for all cloud based CE devices, from TVs to smartphones [Aug 21, 2011].

We will look into the essential expansion of V.I.A. Plus announced at CES 2012 later. Here is sufficient to include just a short piece from the above mentioned collection in order to make the concept of V.I.A. Plus ecosystem absolutely clear (before we will go into the details of the brand new Windows based premium PC entertainment from VIZIO):

VIZIO Tablet [VIZIO video, Aug 1, 2011]: the value proposition video from the vendor which is extremely well demonstrating not only the VIZIO-specific V.I.A. Plus UI but the whole new user experience:

– [0:04] Listen to music – [0:19] Get social – [0:51] Read books – [1:10] View pictures and watch videos – [1:33] VIZIO’s Theater 3D. Leave behind the expensive battery powered glasses, the screen flicker, the darkened picture. – [1:46] Browse the web – [2:28] Control of your entertainment at your fingertips [i.e. the software based remote control] … [Watch at the end how easy is in the V.I.A. Plus user interface to switch over from your tablet to a Theater 3D TV set when viewing a 3D video on YouTube! See also the Theatre 3D related indormation further down in this post.]

This week Vizio has added the alternative, Windows based PC entertainment to its portfolio as well: VIZIO Bursts Into the Computing Realm with Five Innovative and Sleek PCs Set to Redefine Consumer Entertainment [VIZIO press release, Jan 9, 2011]

CES — VIZIO, America’s #1 LCD HDTV Company*, announced today an innovative line of five premium personal computers designed to turn the PC market upside down and accommodate the entertainment needs and wants demanded by consumers. Set to launch with Windows 7 in spring 2012, the elegantly designed PCs will provide an entertainment experience only VIZIO can deliver, complete with top notch 2.1 audio and video quality. The personal computing line consists of two all-in-one computers, two thin + light notebooks and one notebook. VIZIO’s line was developed to raise the bar in personal and home entertainment while also keeping powerful performance at the forefront.

Much like its entrance into the HDTV category nearly a decade ago, VIZIO believes it has identified a need in the PC world for a device that addresses a recent change in consumer behavior. Growing popularity in video streaming services has resulted in the need for personal computers that can stream content for a family movie night and put together an important business presentation the following day. The VIZIO PCs address this change by meeting both the entertainment and productivity demands.

VIZIO PCs will be a continued progression of the VIZIO Internet Apps (V.I.A.) Ecosystem, which provides a seamless, cohesive entertainment experience across multiple screens. As the V.I.A. experience spans across the brand’s HDTVs, Blu-Ray players, tablets and more, today’s announcement represents a natural extension of the experience over to the PC as well. Together with Windows, VIZIO’s PCs will deliver power, mobility and familiar ease of use, ensuring a fast, fluid and immersive user experience that distinguishes them from devices that function and those that are truly entertaining.

“PCs are often associated with productivity and the workplace, routinely lacking the excitement that would be expected with what and how consumers want to use their PCs today – as an extension of their entertainment experience,” said Matt McRae, Chief Technology Officer. “VIZIO wanted to change that. Our new line of VIZIO PCs are truly high quality and consumer focused, delivering enhanced multimedia capabilities while upholding our high standards of performance, style and design.”

Complete with high-performance hardware, the VIZIO PCs boast a clean system image optimized by Microsoft and an elegant industrial design incorporating authentic, high-quality materials that is sure to turn heads both on-the-go and in the living room. Known for HDTVs that boast stunning high-definition pictures, VIZIO engineered its new line of PCs to meet the same high-quality standards.

Always committed to pushing the envelope, VIZIO believes their groundbreaking PCs will alter the way consumers view computing. With entertainment at the heart of the VIZIO PCs, users will find that consuming content will be just as desirable as on their HDTV. With an already high demand for devices that are able to multitask between work and play, the consumer’s choices are limited. VIZIO accepted the challenge and has elegantly bridged both worlds to provide a Windows-based PC that offers a rich entertainment experience alongside tools needed for getting work done.

“We’re excited to see VIZIO enter the PC market and the positive impact they will have on the Windows ecosystem,” said Steven Guggenheimer, CVP OEM Division, Microsoft. “With their expertise in providing connected entertainment experiences and an innovative go-to-market approach, we look forward to working with VIZIO to bring premium consumer PCs to market.”

VIZIO anticipates its entry into the PC category will challenge consumers to expect more from their computers ­enabling them to play as hard as they work. Discover more at http://www.vizio.com/CES.

*Source: IHS iSuppli Corporation Research Q4 2011 Market Tracker Report of Q4 2010 – Q3 2011.

About VIZIO
VIZIO, Inc., “Entertainment Freedom For All,” headquartered in Irvine, California, is America’s #1 LCD HDTV Company. In Q2 2007, VIZIO skyrocketed to the top by becoming the #1 shipping brand of flat panel HDTVs in North America and in Q3 2007 became the first American brand in over a decade to lead in U.S. LCD HDTV shipments. Since 2007 VIZIO LCD HDTV shipments remain in the top ranks in the U.S. and were #1 for the total year in 2009 and 2010. VIZIO is committed to bringing feature-rich consumer electronics to market at a value through practical innovation. VIZIO offers a broad range of award winning consumer electronics. VIZIO’s products are found at Costco Wholesale, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target, BJ’s Wholesale, and other retailers nationwide along with authorized online partners. VIZIO has won numerous awards including a #1 ranking in the Inc. 500 for Top Companies in Computers and Electronics, Fast Company’s 6th Most Innovative CE Company of 2009, and made the lists of Ad Age’s Hottest Brands, CNET’s Editor’s Choice, CNET Best of CES 2011 – Television, IGN Best of CES – Television, Bluetooth.org Best of CES, Good Housekeeping’s Best Big-Screens, PC World’s Best Buy, Popular Mechanics Editor’s Choice and OC Metro’s 10 Most Trustworthy Brands among many other prestigious honors. For more information, please call 888-VIZIOCE or visit on the web at www.VIZIO.com.

The V, VIZIO, VIZIO Internet Apps, Theater 3D, CinemaWide HDTV, Full Array TruLED, Edge Lit Razor LED, 240Hz SPS, 480Hz SPS, Entertainment Freedom and Entertainment Freedom for All names, logos and phrase are registered or unregistered trademarks of VIZIO, Inc. All other trademarks may be the property of their respective holders.

SOURCE VIZIO, Inc.

Brand New Line of Gorgeous Vizio Products from CES 2012! [TEKHD, Jan 10, 2012]

Veronica Belmont talks to the CTO of Vizio, Matt McRae, to get the newest and unreleased info on the latest line of products including the All-In-One, complete with the highest performance processors in the world!

CES 2012: Vizio takes on the iMac [IGNentertainment, Jan 9, 2012]

Get a first look at Vizio’s slick all-in-one computer, recorded from this year’s CES event! While it takes its visual cues from Apple’s iMac line, Vizio’s all-in-one line features not one but two HDMI inputs which will work regardless of whether or not the computer is running. This makes it an intriguing solution for gamers who have limited space to work with. Watch the video then leave us a comment telling us what you think!

Note that there is certainly an outstanding design professional behind these products: Scott McManigal, Senior Director of Global Design who has been with VIZIO since June 2009. Before he had been with OpenPeakHerbst LaZar Bell, BMW Group DesignworksUSA (10 years!), Mattel Toys and Patton Design. It is no wonder that the new PCs got immediate recognition from media with headlines like:
The New Vizio PCs and Notebooks Are Worthy of Apple [Gizmodo, Jan 9, 2012]
Vizio PCs and Laptops are the closest to Apple when it comes to style [Newlaunches.com, Jan 9, 2012]

A First Look at Vizio’s new line of ultrabooks [CNETTV, Jan 10, 2012]

Sharon Vaknin gets the lowdown on Vizio’s new line of ultrabooks.

CES 2012: Vizio Takes On the MacBook Air [IGNentertainment, Jan 9, 2012]

HDTV manufacturer Vizio is branching out with a line of ultra thin and light notebooks! The sleek line of notebooks have design cues which remind us of the shiny products from Apple, which is definitely a good thing. Details are scarce but IGN Senior Producer Ty Root and Executive Editor of IGN Gear Scott Lowe got an early peek, so take a look and leave us a comment telling us what you think!

So far there are no tablets among these premium PC entertainment offerings. VIZIO will introduce them surely when Windows 8 will be launched late summer as the earliest.

The CES 2012 expansion of the V.I.A. Plus

From the V.I.A. Plus related press release (see later): Among the V.I.A. Plus products to be included in VIZIO’s Las Vegas showcase are the 65-inch, 55-inch and 47-inch V.I.A. Plus HDTVs with Theater 3D™, the VBR430 Blu-ray Player and the VAP430 Stream Player, all of which incorporate the latest Google TV experience. VIZIO will also show two V.I.A. Plus enabled [Android] tablets—the current VTAB1008 and the new 10″ VTAB3010. [The tablets are Android based (as all of the V.I.A. Plus system). Detailed information on that: Innovative entertainment class [Android] tablet from VIZIO plus a unified UX for all cloud based CE devices, from TVs to smartphones [Aug 21, 2011].]

Vizio 10 inch tablet hands on [AndroidCentral, Jan 10, 2012]

Vizio 10-inch tablet preview [TheVerge, Jan 10, 2012]

Vizio’s New 10-inch Tablet to Have Intel Chip, Android [IDG News, Jan 10, 2012]

A new tablet from Vizio will come with Intel’s upcoming Atom chip, code-named Medfield, and will run Google’s Android operating system, a source with knowledge of the product plans said.

The M-Series tablet with a 10-inch screen was announced by Vizio at the Consumer Electronics Show, and the device will be “coming soon,” according to Vizio’s website. The tablet is being shown at the trade show in Las Vegas this week.

Vizio has not shared further details on the tablet, saying it is “powerful” and has Wi-Fi. The tablet provides “a world of entertainment right at your fingertips,” according to the company’s website.

The Vizio tablet could be the launching pad for Intel’s Medfield chip, which is not yet available in devices. The Medfield chip has been designed for smartphones and tablets, and Intel later this week is also expected to announce its first smartphone customers for the chip.

Intel’s Medfield & Atom Z2460 Arrive for Smartphones: It’s Finally Here [AnandTech, Jan 11, 2012]

It’s here. Intel’s first smartphone SoC that you’ll actually be able to buy in a device before the end of the year. The platform is called Medfield and Paul Otellini just announced its first device partners.

Medfield starts out as a bonafide mobile SoC. Whereas Moorestown was a “two-chip” solution, Medfield is just one – the Penwell SoC:

There’s only a single version of Medfield being announced today: the Intel Atom Z2460. The Z2460 features a single Atom core with a 512KB L2 cache, a PowerVR SGX 540 GPU and a dual-channel LPDDR2 memory interface. In a world where talking about four Cortex A9s and PowerVR SGX 544MP2s isn’t uncommon, Medfield starts out almost sounding a bit…tame. But then you see its performance:

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 0.9.1 - Stock Browser

Although running what appears to be a stock Gingerbread browser, Intel’s Medfield reference platform posts SunSpider performance better than any other smartphone we’ve tested – including the Galaxy Nexus running Ice Cream Sandwich. Intel promises that Medfield’s performance will scale on ICS as well – the gap should be maintained. We’ve seen high results from reference designs in the past, but the Medfield platform is a little different as you’ll soon see – it’s a complete smartphone design that should be representative of handsets that hit the market later this year.

Medfield isn’t a one trick pony either, performance is similarly dominating under BrowserMark:

BrowserMark

These are tablet-like scores. Here the Galaxy Nexus running ICS comes close, but once again Intel expects that on the same OS Medfield should be faster than any of the currently available SoCs.

I asked Intel where its SunSpider and BrowserMark performance advantages came from, especially considering we’ve typically only seen huge gains with new browsers and not new SoCs. Their response pointed to a bunch of factors, but one stand out issue was the A9 has a great execution core but seems to be more limited on the memory interface. Atom can support far more outstanding misses in L2 than the Cortex A9, which chokes bandwidth to the processor for anything not already in the L2 cache. This may be one of the reasons why we’ve never been able to get really high bandwidth numbers out of A9 based SoCs. It’s probably safe to assume that things will be different with the Cortex A15, but for now it’s little things like this that give Medfield a performance advantage.

GPU performance is understandably not as impressive. We couldn’t get offscreen numbers of GLBenchmark 2.1 but we did get results at the device’s native resolution (1024 x 600):

3D performance is better than the OMAP 4460 due to Medfield’s 400MHz GPU clock compared to ~300MHz in most OMAP4 devices.

Performance without power considerations is meaningless, especially in the smartphone world. Luckily for Intel, Medfield seems very competitive there as well. …

Medfield, at least in Intel’s reference platform, looks very good.

The actual values are pretty astonishing as well. Sub 20mW idle, sub 750mW during a call on 3G and although not pictured here, Intel’s internal data suggests ~1W power consumption while browsing the web compared to ~1.3W on the iPhone 4S and Galaxy S 2. I’ve done my own measurements on 4S web browsing and came up with a very similar value.

Intel Measured Smartphone Power Consumption
(Identical Display Brightness)

  Standby (3G) Talk (3G) Browsing (3G) Video Playback 720p
Apple iPhone 4S ~38mW ~800mW ~1.3W ~500mW
Intel Medfield Reference ~18mW ~700mW ~1.0W ~850mW
Samsung Galaxy S II ~19mW ~675mW ~1.2W ~650mW

The performance and power data both look great for Medfield. You would think that this data, assuming there’s nothing fundamentally wrong, would be enough to convince a handset maker to actually give Intel a shot. You’d be right.

In addition to disclosing Medfield performance data, Intel is also announcing partnerships with both Motorola and Lenovo. The former is a broad, multi-year agreement stating that Motorola plans on creating many devices based on Intel silicon – the first of which will be a smartphone due out before the end of the year. Tablets will follow at some point as well.

Lenovo on the other hand will actually be taking and tweaking Intel’s own Medfield reference platform, and releasing it in China in Q2.

All of this is exactly what Intel needed: a start.

The CPU

The GPU, Process & Roadmap

What’s Different This Time Around: Google & A Sweet Reference Platform

ARM Compatibility: Binary Translation

Final Words

Medfield and the Atom Z2460 are a solid starting point. Intel finally has a chip that they can deliver to the market and partners to carry it in. Intel also built a very impressive reference platform that could lead to some very interesting disruptions in the market.

VIZIO and Google TV Join Forces to Create a State of the Art Stream Player [VIZIO press release, Jan 10, 2011]

– New stream player turns any HDTV into an enhanced smart TV with access to countless entertainment content and online services as well as powerful search and web browsing capabilities
Part of the VIZIO Internet Apps Plus ecosystem, the new VIZIO Stream Player incorporates the power of the latest Google TV in combination with premium setup experience and included Bluetooth universal remote with touchpad control
Integrated app and TV watching experiencelet users multitask seamlessly and access photos, audio and video stored on networked computers, hard drives and smart phones

VIZIO and Google today jointly announced the introduction of the VIZIO VAP430 Stream Player, an innovative stream player that turns any HDTV into an enhanced VIZIO Internet Apps Plus® (V.I.A. Plus) smart TV that incorporates the latest Google TV. The Stream Player allows consumers to access countless entertainment content and online services with web access through a fully capable Chrome browser, and to also enjoy photos, music and video stored on any computer, hard drive or smart phoneconnected to a local network and/or the cloud.*

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With the VAP430 connected to an HDTV over an HDMI cable, users can quickly and seamlessly access content and services from their favorite apps and websites using the included Bluetooth premium universal remote control with integrated touchpad. In addition to movies, TV shows and music on demand, the VAP430 lets users search the web for even more entertainment options using the Flash-capable Chrome browser.

“We’re excited about what Google TV brings to our new VAP430 Stream Player,” says Matthew McRae, VIZIO’s Chief Technology Officer. “This isn’t just an ordinary streaming box that accesses a few predetermined video services. It’s a true entertainment portal that opens up everything the Web has to offer, as well as all the content consumers already have stored on computers and hard drives. And the incorporation of Google TV and our V.I.A. Plus interfacemakes it all incredibly easy to setup and a joy to use.”

Using the included premium remote with QWERTY keypad and integrated touchpad, viewers can easily search for any program or content they want from their favorite apps or the Internet. Users can also check out new apps from an ever-expanding Android Market, or access personal medialike videos, photos and music that are stored on devices connected to the same home network as the stream player. Images are displayed right on a connected TV set, and sound plays through the TV or a connected audio system.

“We’re thrilled to partner with VIZIO on the launch of their Stream Player,” said Mario Queiroz, head of Google TV. “VIZIO has established itself as a leader in the consumer electronics market. Combining Google TV with VIZIO’s innovative, easy-to-use consumer electronic products will bring more great entertainment and Android apps to the living room.”

Painless Setup, Powerful Capabilities

Part of the V.I.A. Plus ecosystem, the slick yet discreet VAP430 can easily compliment any HDTV using an HDMI cable. Installing the VAP430 and connecting it to the Internet is blazingly fast and simple to do with the built-in setup experience and 802.11n WiFi connection.

The VAP430 also has an HDMI pass-through that lets the user connect a cable or satellite box to the stream player and pass the signal over to the TV for a truly integrated TV watching experience. The smart TV interfaceoverlays the live TV signal so multitaskers can search for the next thing to watch without completely stepping away from what they’re currently watching.

Bluetooth capability also makes it simple to enjoy content from smart phones through the connected TV wirelessly. And with the USB input, connecting any USB drive directly to the VAP430 takes only seconds.

VAP430 is the first V.I.A. Plus device to launch this year, followed by the VBR430 3D Blu-ray player, which combines the features of the VAP430 with Blu-ray’s state-of-the-art high-definition video and audio playback capabilities.

Preorders for the VAP430 will begin this spring 2012. Find out more and sign up to be the first at www.vizio.com/ces

* The VIZIO Internet Apps® (V.I.A.) platform requires Internet access, equipment and subscription services that are not provided.

See also (especially because VAP430 is likely based on Marvell’s platform): Google’s revitalization of its Android-based TV effort via Marvell SoC and reference design[Jan 5, 2012]

VIZIO Expands the Next-Generation VIZIO Internet Apps Plus® (V.I.A. Plus) Ecosystem, Announcing New HDTV, Blu-ray Player, Stream Player and Tablet Products That Share a Unified User Experience Across All Screens [VIZIO press release, Jan 10, 2011]

– V.I.A. Plus provides access to a world of apps on each device with attention to details that optimize the entertainment experience on each and every screen
– V.I.A. Plus offers today’s most advanced and functional smart TV user experience, with an intuitive, app-centric interface optimized for the 10-foot viewing experience
– New V.I.A. partners to include iHeartRadio®, The Wall Street Journal® and M-GO®
VIZIO’s expanded line-up incorporating the Google TV platform include the 65-inch, 55-inch and 47-inch HDTVs with Theater 3D, the VBR430 Blu-ray player, and the VAP430 Stream Player

image

VIZIO, America’s #1 HDTV Company*, announces the continued expansion of its next generation of the award-winning VIZIO Internet Apps® platform: VIZIO Internet Apps Plus (V.I.A. Plus). V.I.A. Plus brings a unified user experience to a wide range of devices that include HDTVs, Tablets, Blu-ray players, Media Players and more. From the big screen to mobile devices, V.I.A. Plus bridges the worlds of entertainment, content and services with one sophisticated and intuitive interface. V.I.A. Plus accesses a world of apps on each device, with attention to details that optimize the entertainment experience on each screen.

Among the V.I.A. Plus products to be included in VIZIO’s Las Vegas showcase are the 65-inch, 55-inch and 47-inch V.I.A. Plus HDTVs with Theater 3D™, the VBR430 Blu-ray Player and the VAP430 Stream Player, all of which incorporate the latest Google TV experience. VIZIO will also show two V.I.A. Plus enabled tablets—the current VTAB1008 and the new 10″ VTAB3010.

“The way users consume content has changed drastically over recent years. Technology has enabled nearly every device with a screen to connect to some form of delivery platform, each with its own mechanism for searching, browsing and viewing content.” said Matthew McRae, Chief Technology Officer, VIZIO. “V.I.A. Plus focuses entirely on what users care about – their content. By delivering a seamless, intuitive experience that is consistent across multiple screens, V.I.A. Plus products distinguish themselves from devices that function and those that are truly entertaining.”

The V.I.A. Plus experience features an intuitive, app-centric interface on every device, making it easy for consumers to understand and navigate as they move between devices. Users can also access thousands of apps from the Android Market™ for even more entertainment options.

“We’re thrilled to partner with VIZIO on the launch of the Stream Player,” said Mario Queiroz, head of Google TV. “VIZIO has established itself as a leader in the consumer electronics market. Combining Google TV with VIZIO’s innovative, easy-to-use consumer electronic products will bring more great entertainment and Android apps to the living room.”

In addition, VIZIO is announcing new partners who are collaborating to bring their content and services to the V.I.A. Platform, including:

iHeart Radio– iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading digital radio service, brings users a best-in-class customizable digital listening experience, one which combines the best of both worlds to deliver everything listeners want in one free, fully-integrated service: More than 800 of the nation’s most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 cities, plus user-created Custom Stations which provide listeners more songs, better music intelligence, more user control and deeper social media integration.

The Wall Street Journal®– WSJ Live from The Wall Street Journal offers up to four total hours of live video programming each business day from across The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, including the Journal, Dow Jones® Newswires, Barron’s™, MarketWatch®, SmartMoney® and AllThingsD.com. Users can access seven half-hour live shows, breaking news updates, exclusive interviews, and special events coverage. The service also offers more than 2,000 videos per month from an extensive library of on-demand content.

M-GO™ video-on-demand– M-GO from Technicolor is a next-generation app that combines all of your media including movies, music, apps, live TV, and more. M-GO will come pre-loaded on VIZIO HDTVs and Blu-ray Players with VIZIO Internet Apps or VIZIO Internet Apps Plus. The app will help consumers find the content they’re looking for through its extensive content library and state-of-the-art discovery engine, while also providing a unique second screen functionality for searching additional content.

“We are extremely excited to be partnering with VIZIO to bring consumers all of their media anywhere, anytime, and anyway they want it,” said John Batter, CEO of M-GO. “As consumers continue to access digital media at home and on the go, it is even more important to provide them with a consistent experience that is easy to navigate and convenient to use. VIZIO’s technology combined with our accessibility to content does just that.”

On V.I.A. Plus enabled HDTVs, Blu-ray players and Media Players, users can multitask between apps and traditional TV content through an interface designed for the 10-foot viewing experience, created specifically for situations where users want to sit back and enjoy the ultimate in channel and web surfing. Users can also complement their entertainment experience with VIZIO tablets for seamless access to their favorite apps and content in any room in the home or on the road.

With a wide range of apps on each device, V.I.A. Plus enables consumers to choose from a new universe of entertainment options, redefining the TV experience with multi-screen access, gaming, full browsing and enhanced search capabilities, and the ability to view live events streamed over the Internet.

Navigating V.I.A. Plus is simple and intuitive, using the QWERTY keypad and integrated touchpadthat’s built into the premium Bluetooth remote control included with every V.I.A. Plus product. Users need no technical know-how to get their new devices online, thanks to the advanced wireless Internet access and simplified onscreen setup.

Smart Blu-ray

The VBR430 Blu-ray player is the most advanced on the market today. Not only does it offer the incomparable entertainment power of V.I.A. Plus with Google TV, the player comes with a touchpad universal remote with QWERTY keypad that makes it easy to control apps, content and other functions. As part of the VIZIO Internet Apps Plus ecosystem, the VBR430 also lets users access video, audio and photos stored on any DLNA-compatible computer, network-connected hard drive or cell phone connected to a home network. Built-in WiFi makes network connection easy, and Bluetooth capability provides yet another conduit for streaming media from cell phones and computers.

Smart TV Plus 3D

VIZIO’s V.I.A. Plus products will also include Theater 3D technology, for crystal clear, brighter and flicker-free 3D, viewable with lightweight, comfortable, battery-free 3D glasses. The TVs feature LED backlighting with smart dimming technology to achieve dynamic contrast ratios of 1,000,000:1 or greater.

The Ultimate Stream Player

The VAP430 Stream Player with Google TV is an innovative media player that turns any HDTV into an enhanced VIZIO Internet Apps Plus (V.I.A. Plus) smart TV. As sales of stream players are poised to pass Blu-ray players in unit volume sales (by 2013, according the CEA U.S. Unit Shipment Forecast of January 2011), the VAP430 is the perfect solution for media multitaskers who consume most of their media over the Internet. The VAP430 is the one of the most advanced Stream Players with built-in HDMI ports that lets users connect existing components like gaming consoles or set-top boxes for unified access to all media sources through the VI.A. Plus touchpad remote. It even supports 3D content and 3D streaming.

Many of the new VIZIO V.I.A. Plus products will be on display at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas during the Consumer Electronics Show, January 10 – 13, 2012. For more information, please visit www.vizio.com/ces

* Source: IHS iSuppli Corporation Research Q4 2011 Market Tracker Report of Q4 2010 – Q3 2011.

Vizio’s Google TV delayed until early fall, now edge-lit [C|net, Jan 10, 2012]
LAS VEGAS–Google TV has a way of disappointing expectations, and one strong case in point is the Vizio’s VIA Plus platform for TVs.

At CES 2011 we named the VIA Plus models as our favorite TV product of CES. They used Google TV to deliver what the company described as interoperability between the TV and Android-equipped phones and tablets. Among other features, Via Plus was also said to support the OnLive gaming service. Those extras, along with the same kind of full-array local-dimming backlightwe know and love, was enough to convince us that the so-equipped TVs were going to be pretty awesome.

Unfortunately, because of what Vizio describes as Google TV-related issues beyond its control, they never came out.

We asked about the VIA Plus sets during a pre-CES briefing with Vizio and were told they were still on the company’s product release roadmap. The new release date is “early fall.” They will have different model numbers and at least one change for the worse: that backlight is now an edge-lit affair. Vizio further specified that the new VIA Plus models would have a 240Hz refresh rate, passive 3D, and three screen sizes: 47-, 55-, and a new 65-inch option.

On the bright side, maybe having all that extra time to perfect VIA Plus will allow Vizio to do something really special with Google TV’s Honeycomb customizations. We’ll see.

Strong business backings from Taiwan that enable such bold strategy expansion for VIZIO 

Vizio sees 2012 with optimism [Nov 2, 2011]

TV brand Vizio has indicated sales of Japan-based brands such as Sony, Panasonic and Sharp have been weak. However, South Korea-based brands such as Samsung and LG have been growing becoming Vizio’s biggest competitors. Vizio estimates 2011 shipments of LCD TVs to reach over six million units.

According to William Wang, CEO and founder of Vizio, the strategy to face the South Korea-based players is to improve products, such as by providing customers with the best 3D TV. If products can be sold with cheaper retail prices, then do it.

Wang indicated Vizio’s biggest partner is still Taiwan-based Amtran Technology, which accounts for 70-80% of Vizio’s OEM orders. Foxconn is responsible for small-size products. Wang complimented Taiwan’s technology, innovation and product quality.

The recent weak demand in the TV market has been causing panel makers to suffer huge losses, Vizio stated. Except for shipments in the first quarter 2011 which were comparable to those of 2010, the rest of the quarters in 2011 have all seen declining shipments.

Wang concluded that panel makers have been suffering due to oversupply and lack of consumer confidence due to weak economic conditions in Europe and the US. However, 2011 should be the year when the industry hits rock bottom, which means firms should face 2012 with optimism.

CES: Value Outweighs Price, AmTran Says [excerpt on the VIZIO site, Jan 6, 2010]

Behind Vizio’s success is a partnership with Taipei-based AmTran Technology, a contract manufacturer that specializes in computer monitors and televisions. The company, which owns a 23% stake [i.e. majority] in Vizio, now makes annual revenue of about $2 billion, more than quadruple the $428 million it reported in 2004.

To read more about this article please click here.

[Hon Hai/Foxconn is said to be the 2nd largest shareholder ov VIZIO as well as having 10% of shares of AmTran]

[click here >> WSJ Blogs, Jan 7, 2010]

In a rare interview, its chief executive and chairman Alpha Wu spoke to The Wall Street Journal about his views on the fast-changing industry at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

The Wall Street Journal: Why have your products been so successful?

Mr. Wu: We think very simply about how we can provide the best value to customers world-wide. I have pretty good relationships with key component makers in Japan, Taiwan, China and now Korea, and I make sure we get high-quality components, so we can provide high-quality displays. We try to have attractive prices, but that can’t be the only reason for customers to buy. Value is more important than anything. We try to provide attractive prices, but that can’t be the only reason for customers to buy.

We also keep very tight production schedules. We learned from our customers that we must meet schedules. As long as we have discipline over our schedule, we can compete against anybodybecause when a rival announces a new technology, we can develop similar products quickly and take the market.

WSJ: Why do you think the traditional television makers in Japan are having such a hard time in the television market, particularly in the U.S.?

Mr. Wu: To be a pure original equipment manufacturer is a tough business. That’s why we teamed up with Vizio. The Japanese engineers work hard and demand perfect products, but they don’t know the market very much. In the U.S., people don’t want very high-end products especially in the current economic situation. Japanese consumers, however, are more willing to invest in expensive products.

Products that are made in Japan with Japanese components by Japanese suppliers are very important to them, but their factories aren’t as advanced as ours because they’re old. An older managementalso makes them less able to accept new technologies and innovation.

WSJ: 3D televisions are expected to be big news at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. How soon do you expect this technology to take off?

Mr. Wu:3D movies are absolutely coming. 3D televisions might take two or three years. One big problem that has to be overcome is glasses. No one wants to wear glasses to watch TV. Plus if you have five people in the family you need five pairs of glasses. The technology is also not mature yet.

WSJ: What is your vision for AmTran’s future?

Mr. Wu: We want to support the best brand with the best technology products. We are trying to do it in different regions, step by step. We’re trying in Taiwan, Japan and China. Maybe someday we’ll try in Europe.

One of our customers, Bang & Olufsen, has a remote control that I use at home every day to control the curtains, lighting, television and audio. That’s our dream too, but to provide it to the mass market.

WSJ: What kind of opportunity do you see in the Chinese market?

Mr. Wu: By 2011, China’s market for televisions will be bigger than the U.S. From our point of view, we have some advantages — we know China better than people in other countries. Whoever can become No. 1 in China and in the U.S. will be No. 1 in the world.

Amtran Technology Co Ltd (2489.TW) – Overview – Full Description [Reuters, excerpted on Jan 10, 2012]

AMTRAN TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD. is principally engaged in the manufacture and distribution of monitors and digital televisions. The Company provides liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors, which are applied in personal computers (PCs), workstations, automobile instruments, point of sale (POS) equipment and automatic teller machines (ATMs), among others, as well as LCD televisions. During the year ended December 31, 2010, the Company obtained approximately 94.89% of its total revenue from digital televisions. The Company distributes its products primarily in Japan, Europe and the Americas.
» Full Overview of 2489.TW

Amtran sees increased 4Q11 revenues [Jan 10, 2012]

Taiwan-based TV OEM firm Amtran reported December revenues of NT$6.44 billion (US$214 million). Fourth quarter revenues reached NT$19.66 billion, the highest quarterly revenues in 2011, accounting for 35% of 2011 total revenues.

Due to sales during the year-end holiday season in the North America market, total shipments in December reached 660,000 units while total shipments in fourth quarter reached 1.94 million units, outperforming the previous three quarters in 2011. According to Amtran, total shipments in 2011 reached 5.35 million units. Shipments of products in the range of 32-37 inch accounted for 54% of the firm’s total flat TV shipments. Amtran noted that sales of large-size products (42-, 47-, 55-, and 65-inch) LCD TVs accounted for 46% of total revenues.

Amtran expects LCD TV shipments to increase as the firm develops products such as internet TV, smart TV and 3D TV.

Amtran faces challenge to attain 2011 LCD TV goal [Aug 17, 2011]

Taiwan-based Amtran Technology’s LCD TV shipments reached nearly two million units in the first half of 2011, according to industry sources. But the maker may have difficulties achieving its shipment goal of five million units for the entire 2011 given that its major market, North America, has been weak.

Amtran, the chief manufacturer for Vizio, shipped a total 4.2 million units of LCD TVs worldwide in 2010.

Supply chain battles for much improved levels of price/performance competitiveness

Current snapshot:

Intel rejects 50% Ultrabook CPU price cut demand from notebook players [Aug 16, 2011]

Intel’s Oak Trail platform, paired Atom Z670 CPU (US$75) with SM35 chipsets (US$20) for tablet PC machine, is priced at US$95, already accounting for about 40% of the total cost of a tablet PC, even with a 70-80% discount, the platform is still far less attractive than Nvidia’s Tegra 2 at around US$20. Although players such as Asustek Computer and Acer have launched models with the platform for the enterprise market, their machines’ high price still significantly limit their sales, the sources noted.

As for Ultrabook CPUs, Intel is only willing to provide marketing subsides and 20% discount to the first-tier players, reducing the Core i7-2677 to US$317, Core i7-2637 to US$289 and Core i5-2557 to US$250.

As for Intel’s insistence, the sources believe that Intel is concerned that once it agrees to reduce the price, the company may have difficulties to maintain gross margins in the 60% range and even after passing the crisis, the company may have difficulty in maintaining its pricing. Even with Intel able to maintain a high gross margin through its server platform, expecting Intel to drop CPU prices may be difficult to achieve, the sources added.

Update: ASUStek seems to maneuver by far the best among them (special early ultrabook engagement with Intel, with popssible higher discount, in addition to exploiting the Tegra 2 opportunity best via the only successful so far EeePad Transformer):
Asustek expects better business performance in 2H11 [Aug 17, 2011]

Asustek Computer expects its performance in the second half of 2011 to be better than that of fellow Taiwan-based companies, according to CFO David Chang.

Asustek is likely to hit record quarterly revenues in the third  quarter and is optimistic about business operation in the fourth mainly due to the launch of second-generation Eee Pad Transformer tablets and ultrabook notebooks, Chang said.

Asustek aims at a 14% market share for notebooks in China, and
became the largest vendor in Eastern Europe’s notebook market in the second quarter. In addition, Asustek is poised to make forays into Latin America, especially Brazil and Mexico.

Asustek expects to ship 14 million notebooks and 4.5-5 million Eee PCs in 2011, Chang indicated. Asustek shipped 11.4 million motherboards in the first half and expects to ship 22.5-23 million for the year.

Tablet players expected to cut price to digest inventory overstock [Aug 16, 2011]

Non-Apple tablet PC players, facing the fact their devices are having weaker sales than their order volumes, while demand from the retail channel has been quickly shrinking, are expected to start cutting their tablet prices by the end of September to digest inventory and minimize losses, and the decisions are expected to trigger a new price war within the tablet industry, according to sources from notebook players.

The sources pointed out that most non-Apple tablet players had weaker-than-expected performances and Asustek, which had a rather better performance, had shipments of 700,000 tablets from May to July with actual sales only reaching 500,000 units.

RIM and High Tech Computer (HTC) are already placing their hopes in 2012 with Samsung and Motorola both seeing their tablet demand weaker than expected, while some other players such as Acer are gradually reducing their orders.

Motorola, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Asustek and Acer have all recently reduced their tablet prices with the lowest price currently at US$370; however, with their inventory will become harder to digest, the sources believe there will be at least two waves of price cuts from the end of September to the year-end holiday, reducing the tablet average price level to US$350 and may even drop further to US$300 in the future.

More: Acer & Asus: Compensating lower PC sales by tablet PC push[March 29, 2011 with updates upto Aug 2, 2011]

AMD’s Bright Outlook Likely to Boost Taiwan’s Supply Chain [Aug 16, 2011]

Taiwan’s IC supply chain is expected to benefit from good business performance of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), which is projected to outperform archrival Intel Corp. in the third quarter with increased shipment of accelerated processing units (APUs).

The Taiwan supply chin is mainly composed of manufacturers including foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), packager Siliconware Precision Industries Co., Ltd., tester STATS ChipPAC Taiwan Semiconductor Corp., and substrate maker Nanya Printed Circuit Board Corp.

AMD estimates its revenue for the third quarter to rise 8-12% from the second quarter, compared with Intel’s projected 8% revenue growth. According to AMD, it has enjoyed robust APU shipments since the second quarter, with both its PC and laptop APU shipments hit new highs.

AMD has contracted TSMC, currently the world’s No.1 pure foundry, to make its Ontario [C-series], Zacate [E-series], and Desna [Z-series, specific for tablet PCs, a power optimized version of C-series, which are also for ultra-thin notebooks: Z-01 of 5.9W vs. C-50 9W in both cases with two 1 GHz “Bobcat” CPU cores + 6250 GPU] processors using 40-nanometer process technology as well as its Hudson chips using 65nm process technology.

While increasing foundry outsourcing to TSMC, AMD has augmented packaging and testing contracts to Taiwan’s providers as well. Nanya is also expected to land contracts via Japanese partner NGK Spark Plug, which has directly received substrate contracts from AMD.

In the second quarter, AMD saw its revenue slightly dip 2% from the first quarter to US$1.57 billion, while its gross margin was 46%, up from 45% recorded in the first quarter this year.

AMD Llano processor shipments reach 1.3-1.5 million units in July [Aug 4, 2011]

AMD shipped about one million Llano [A-series, for mainstream notebooks, all-in-one PCs and desktop PCs: with up to four up to 2.9 GHz x86 CPU cores and with an integrated DirectX 11-capable discrete-level graphics unit that features up to 400 Radeon cores along with dedicated HD video processing on a single chip] APUs in June and 1.3-1.5 million units in July, and with the appearance of the company’s new Llano APUs in the fourth quarter, annual shipments of Llano in 2011 should reach 7.5-8 million units, according to sources from motherboard players.

The sources pointed out that AMD is pushing its 40nm-based C series (Ontario) and E series (Zacate) APUs for the entry-level market, while it is pushing 32nm-based Llano-based APUs for the mid-range to performance and mainstream markets, and is pushing 32nm AM3+ FX series (Zambezi) processors for the high-end market in the fourth quarter.

In 2012, AMD will launch a new APU series codenamed Krishna using a 28nm process from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), targeting mini PCs, and all-in-one PCs with an APU series codenamed Trinity to replace Llano for the mainstream market, adopting a 32nm process from Globalfoundries. For the high-end market, AMD will launch an APU series codenamed Komodo.

AMD shipping Llano APUs; prices leaked [May 23, 2011]

AMD has started shipping its Llano APUs to notebook clients and will begin to market the APUs to channels in July 2011, according to sources from notebook makers.

AMD targets to ship one million notebook-use Llano APUs in June, 1.5 million in July, and a total of 8-9 million for the whole of 2011, revealed the sources, citing AMD’s internal estimates.

If the shipment goals are realized, AMD will be able to boost its share in the notebook CPU segment to 15% by the end of the year, the sources commented.

Additionally, AMD will also launch six Llano and four Bulldozer APUs for desktops.

AMD: Llano and Bulldozer APU prices (k unit)
Core Model Price Competing Intel model
Llano/quad-core A8-3550P US$170 Core i5-2300
Llano/quad-core A8-3550 US$150
Llano/quad-core A6-3450P US$130 Core i3-2120/2010
Llano/quad core A6-3450 US$110
Llano/dual-core A4-3350P US$80 Pentium G6960/6950 and Sandy Bridge G800/600
Llano/dual core E2-3250 US$70 Pentium G620
Bulldozer/octo-core FX-8130P US$320 Core i7 2600K/2600
Bulldozer/octo-core FX-8130 US$290
Bulldozer/6-core FX-6110 US$240 Core i5 2500K/2500
Bulldozer/quad-core FX-4110 US$220

More: Acer repositioning for the post Wintel era starting with AMD Fusion APUs[June 17, 2011]

Apple cancels supply schedule of iPad 3 for 2H11 [Aug 16, 2011]

US-based tablet PC players Apple has recently canceled its iPad 3 supply schedule for the second half of 2011, forcing other tablet PC brand vendors that are set to launch same-level product to compete, to follow suit and delay their launch; however, supply of the iPad 2 in the second half will still be maintained at 28-30 million units, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

Apple was originally set to launch its iPad 3 in the second half of 2011 with a supply volume of 1.5-2 million units in the third quarter and 5-6 million in the fourth quarter, but Apple’s supply chain partners have recently discovered that the related figures have all already been deleted, the sources pointed out.

The sources believe that the yield rate of the 9.7-inch panel that feature resolution of 2,048 by 1,536 may be the major reason of the supply delay since such panels are mainly supplied by Japan-based Sharp with a high price and Apple’s other supply partners Samsung Electronics and LG Display are both unable to reach a good yield. Since Apple is unable to control a certain level of supply volume, the iPad 3 is unlikely to be mass produced as scheduled, the sources added.

Sources from panel players also pointed out that the 9.7-inch panel with high resolution requires a much larger backlight source and a single edge light bar is hardly able to reach satisfaction levels. Due to iPad 3’s requirements over the physical thinness, rich color support and toughness will all conflict with the panel’s technology restrictions; therefore, this could cause a delay in the launch.

In June, LG Display supplied three million panels for the iPad 2 with Samsung supplying 1-1.5 million units and Chimei Innolux (CMI) 10,000-20,000 units. In July, LG’s supply volume dropped to 2.8 million units with Samsung maintaining its same levels, and CMI’s volume increased to 450,000-500,000 units.

Update: CMI fails to become iPad 3 panel supplier, say sources [Aug 19, 2011]

Chimei Innolux (CMI) has failed to become a LCD panel supplier for the Apple iPad 3 due to technological hurdles, according to industry sources.

CMI has cut into the supply chain of iPad 2, which uses IPS panels, but the new Apple tablet is more demanding in terms of resolution, the sources said. The iPad 3 will feature a 9.7-inch panel with resolution of 2,048×1,536 compared to the iPad 2’s 1,024×768.

CMI has been developing panels trying to meet the iPad 3 specifications, but problems with transmittance and yield rates of the panels have resulted in its failure to receive certification for the iPad, the sources said.

CMI began developing IPS panels last year after receiving license from Hitachi in July 2010. The license covers IPS, Super-IPS, Advanced-Super IPS, IPS-Pro, and IPS-Pro-Prolleza.

CMI previously scheduled mass production of IPS panels to begin as early as the end of 2010 or early 2011. But low yield rates delayed the mass production until recent months. The maker’s IPS panel monthly output in July 2011 reached nearly 500,000 units. It is looking forward to an output of one million units in August 2011, the sources said.

The sources noted that the iPad 3’s resolution requirement of 2,048×1,536 pixels is also a challenge even for iPad panel regular suppliers such as LG Display (LGD) and Samsung Electronics. Apart from the two Korea makers, Japan’s Sharp has als been selected to supply panels for the iPad 3, the sources said.

They noted that CMI still stands a chance of becoming a regular supplier for iPad 3 if it can improve its panel quality to meet Apple’s requirements. The maker recently invested NT$800 million to NT$1 billion [US$28 million to US$35 million] to improve manufacturing facilities, the sources said.

Chimei Innolux Continues Suffering Loss in Q2 [Aug 16, 2011]

Chimei Innolux Corp., the largest maker of thin film transistor-liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels in Taiwan, reported a loss of NT$13 billion (US$448.3 million) in the second quarter, deeper than institutional investors` forecast.

Industry sources said that the four major makers of large-sized TFT-LCD panels, i.e. AU Optronics Corp. (AUO), Chimei Innolux, Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Ltd. (CPT) and HannStar Display Corp., together reported total loss of about NT$120 billion (US$413.8 million [US$4.15 billion]) in the past about one year.

Some institutional investors said that the all-size panel prices are expected to fall slightly, implying that makers` losses in the third quarter would not be less than second quarter`s.

At its recent half-year online shareholder meeting, Chimei adjusted down its capital spending to NT$50 billion to NT$60 billion (US$1.7 billion to US$2.1 billion) from NT$75 billion to NT$70 billion (US$2.6 billion to US$2.4 billion) lowered previously and NT$100 billion (US$3.4 billion) announced in early this year. Chimei said that this year the company would focus mainly on high-level equipment and R&D projects for touch-panel technology.

AUO, Chimei Innolux`s major rival and the No. 2 panel maker in Taiwan, recently also adjusted down its capital spending goal to under NT$70 billion (US$2.4 billion) from NT$90 billion to NT$95 billion (US$3.3 billion to US$3.1 billion).

Chimei Innolux is a merger between three companies, including Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. (CMO), Innolux Display Corp., and TPO Displays Corp. (TPO), formed in the second quarter of 2010, and began reporting loss starting the third quarter of last year that has continued for four seasons.

AUO reported an accumulated loss of NT$36 billion (US$1.24 billion) in the past three quarters.

Eddie Chen, Chimei Innolux`s chief financial officer, said that his company focused on shipments of core businesses and cut many system assembly works in the second quarter. The company`s second-quarter shipments of large-sized panels increased about 10% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), but its revenue generated from small/medium-sized panels fell 18.4% QoQ due to the falling panel prices. J.C. Wang, president of Chimei Innolux`s Southern Taiwan Science Park (STSP) branch, pointed out that his company decided to cut system-assembly business because it takes too many labor forces and that`s not his company`s core competitiveness.

Wang said that the third quarter is a traditional high season, but the market now seems relatively weaker than it should be. In the second quarter, Chimei Innolux`s capacity utilization rate was about 80%, the company said that it would adjust according to market conditions.

LCD maker CPT still deep in red in second quarter [July 30, 2011]

LCD panel maker Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (CPT, 中華映管) yesterday reported its 12th consecutive quarterly loss as prices for slim-screen panels for televisions and computers dropped on sluggish end demand.

The company added that outlook for the third quarter remained sluggish, with demand expected to fall below the seasonal norm.

However, Chunghwa Picture said it has no plans to cut its capital spending this year of between NT$2 billion (US$69 million) and NT$2.5 billion, which would be used to improve its equipment to produce high-definition flat panels used in tablet devices and smartphones.

Earlier this week, its bigger local rival, AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), said it planned to slash capital spending by 30 percent.

In the quarter ending June 30, Chunghwa Picture’s losses widened to NT$3.13 billion [US$108 million] from losses of NT$2.33 billion [US$80 million] in the first quarter. The Taoyuan-based company posted losses of NT$1.5 billion in the second quarter of last year.

“Market demand, especially for TVs and IT products [computers], slumped in the first half. Oversupply caused panel prices to drop further,” company president Lin Sheng-chang (林盛昌) said during a teleconference with investors.

“As the visibility for IT panels is unclear, we will make inventory management our priority,” Lin said.

Days of inventory increased to 37 days last quarter from 31 days in the first quarter, the company said.

The fragile economic recovery in the US and Europe is expected to curtail demand for consumer electronics, while demand for notebook computers should pick up slightly after new models hit the shelves, Chunghwa Picture said.

To combat these difficult times, Lin said the company would have to accelerate its shift to high-margin products, such as tablet panels, touch sensors and smartphone screens, in the second half.

Its newly formed strategic partnership with the world’s biggest e-paper display supplier, E Ink Holdings Inc (元太科技), will help it reach this goal, Lin said.

Last week, E Ink agreed to spend NT$1.5 billion [US$52 million] to subscribe to Chunghwa Picture bonds. Chunghwa Picture agreed to supply LCD panels to E Ink.

Besides e-paper displays, E Ink also supplies high-definition flat panels to LG Display and tablet device makers.

Shipments of LCD panels used in smartphones, tablets and consumer electronics should grow by 20 percent to 25 percent in the second half, from 200 million units shipped in the first half, Lin said.

Last quarter, revenues from small-and-medium LCD panels used in tablets and smartphones accounted for a larger share, 42 percent, of Chunghwa Picture’s total revenues of NT$15.93 billion, from 37 percent in the prior quarter, according to the company’s financial statement.

Chunghwa Picture also said it would terminate its money-losing cathode-ray-tube (CRT) business. The company plans to revamp its CRT factories in Malaysia and in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, and shift to touch panel assembly.

HannStar posts operating loss [Aug 15, 2011]

HannStar Display has announced unconsolidated results for second-quarter 2011, with total sales rising 10% sequentially to NT$1.15 billion (US$387.4 million). But it recorded an operating loss of NT$1.04 billion and a net loss of NT$ 1.57 billion [US$54 million], which was translated into a loss per share of NT$ 0.27.

Gross, operating, and net margin in the second quarter were 7%, -9%, and -14% respectively. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was 1%.

HannStar said the operating loss in the second quarter was the result of an effort to enlarge its manufacturing capacity in Nanjing, China, which cost it an extra NT$1.88 billion [US$65 million] in operation.

Capacity utilization of HannStar was nearly full in second-quarter 2011. Small- to medium-size panels under 10-inch took up about 45% of its total revenues. Notebook panels accounted for 10% and monitor panels 45%.

HannStar is expected to enhance notebook panels’ share to 15% and small- to medium-size panels to 55% in third-quarter 2011. Monitor panels’ share will be lowered to around 30%.

HannStar expects small- to medium-size panels’ share to reach 60% by end of 2011 and notebook panels to grow to 20%.

Explanatory excerpts from Pixel Qi’s first big name device manufacturing partner is the extremely ambitious ZTE [Feb 15, 2011, with updates up to June 3, 2011]

to engage some of the largest factories that have ever been made, and for that to work their economics need very high volumes. We need to have customers who really commit to large purchase orders almost before we start to design.”

The display business can be considered to be the worlds biggest non-profit industry, the 5 biggest LCD makers who produce 90% of the worlds LCDs, produce for $120 Billion in screens every year but can only make small profit margins out of that because of the strong competition and the large volumes shipped. Those companies that produce the worlds LCD screens have very high costs, very high risks, little flexibility.

Netbook prices starting $50 less at $200 via Intel MeeGo strategy

Preliminary reading:
Acer & Asus: Compensating lower PC sales by tablet PC push [March 29, 2011 with comprehensive update on Aug 2, 2011] which is showing IHS iSuppli’s recent mobile broadband device forecast with constituents of Apple’s dominant position in the media tablet space as well as serious technical and market problems with the original version of Honeycomb up to now
>>> please note after reading this that for ASUStek the below $200 market trial with MeeGo netbooks is much-much more than simply to keep the netbook category alive
Intel: accelerated Atom SoC roadmap down to 22nm in 2 years and a “new netbook experience” for tablet/mobile PC market [April 17, 2011]

Asus will ready some other experimental products in the coming weeks, such as the X101 model of its popular Eee PC netbooks. The device has attracted attention for its low price ($199) and use of the MeeGo operating system, a relatively new, open source technology project backed by Intel (and, formerly, Nokia). Shih said the X101 will also be available in Microsoft Windows and Google Android versions. Asus decided to offer a MeeGo flavor of the device so consumers could choose from a range of operating systems, he added.

Asus: Super-Thin ‘Ultrabooks’ Can Capture 50% Of Notebook Market [July 29, 2011]

Intel: MeeGo exists because Microsoft let us down [April 20, 2011]
Interview: Even Windows 7 doesn’t do enough for Atom, says chip giant

Despite saying that “Intel is very supportive of Windows,” James Reinders, Chief Evangelist of Software Tools at Intel, criticises Microsoft roundly in an interview with TechRadar.

Why? He says it’s taken too long for the software giant to make Windows run well on Atom and to make a success of Intel’s UMPC and MID ideas.

“Microsoft hasn’t been quite as aggressive as we might have hoped at supporting Atom, especially in the embedded space and that’s why we came up with our platform Moblin – which is now MeeGo. Intel is all about platform choice, choice of operating system and so on, and we believe in the opportunity of embedded very strongly.”

“Some of their Windows offerings are great now, but Moblin started a number of years ago when we didn’t see Windows in that space at all. We’re thrilled to death to see user mode scheduling in Windows 7 but the progress of Windows 7 still limited – it doesn’t go all the places we think Atom will go.”

Those places include smartphones, MIDs, tablets and in-car systems, for a start, and Android – or the version of Mac OS in the iPad – just isn’t enough in his view. “We feel people want an operating system that is more powerful on these devices.

What web browsers does MeeGo come with? [Dec 24, 2010]

There are two MeeGo images, one comes with Google Chrome that requires you to agree to a EULA. The other image comes with Chromium. Both images also come with Mozilla Firefox.

Chromebooks Are Doomed to Fail [PCWorld, May 15, 2011]

The Chromebook is not any lighter or smaller than a standard netbook. It boots up faster, and has longer battery life than a full notebook, but so do most netbooks. The difference between the Chromebook and a standard netbook is that with a netbook you can do everything you can do with a Chromebook, and you can still do all of things you normally do with a PC.

Essentially, buying a Chromebook is like buying a television that is only capable of delivering some of the channels, even though there are televisions available for the same price that can give you all of the channels. The Chromebooks are going to retail from $350 to $500. Funny thing about that–at BestBuy.com there are 15 netbooks listed that range from $230 to $530.

Early MeeGo devices supporting a compute continuum [July 1, 2011]

… MeeGo has a full featured PC OS at its core, with a series of device UI builds. Device manufacturers take these builds and build their own device experiences upon them. Thus with this approach MeeGo is raising the tide of all devices in a relative short time period. It is a different approach to spending years focused on one segment like handsets before stepping out incrementally to tablets. Not saying it is a better approach. It’s a different strategy, or strength, that gets a broader set of device types and experiences out there running MeeGo sooner. At this pace with IVI and embedded devices, next year MeeGo could be running on more device types than any other mobile OS.

In the PC world a desktop vs a laptop is a hard distinction. There’s little possibility to get those confused. With mobile devices it will be harder to have a distinction between handset and tablet, and tablet and netbook. And with TV, having devices work cooperatively for a full TV experience, it’s hard to define what is a definitive TV computing device.

For OSs that are built from the ground up with a specific device in mind this could be a problem. We see that with Windows today. It’s just about the most mature OS out there, and while you can put Windows on a tablet it’s not the best experience. The text based menus and mouse designed boxes, and file based navigation, do not translate well to touch based devices. Thus with Windows 8, Microsoft is putting a significant effort to build it from the ground up to be more touch friendly.

For MeeGo, as an OS that can be easily tweaked to work for a new devices segment, this is an opportunity. As device categories blur lines; as tablets get keyboards, as netbooks get touch screens, as OLED screens come out and devices can wrap, bend and extend their shape, it will be hard to define what is a handset verses another device. Device manufacturers will have flexibility with MeeGo, to quickly pull together what they need for the device they are shipping.

Update: Asustek expects better business performance in 2H11 [Aug 17, 2011]

Asustek Computer expects its performance in the second half of 2011 to be better than that of fellow Taiwan-based companies, according to CFO David Chang.

Asustek is likely to hit record quarterly revenues in the third
quarter and is optimistic about business operation in the fourth mainly due to the launch of second-generation Eee Pad Transformer tablets and ultrabook notebooks, Chang said.

Asustek aims at a 14% market share for notebooks in China, and
became the largest vendor in Eastern Europe’s notebook market in the second quarter. In addition, Asustek is poised to make forays into Latin America, especially Brazil and Mexico.

Asustek expects to ship 14 million notebooks and 4.5-5 million Eee PCs in 2011, Chang indicated. Asustek shipped 11.4 million motherboards in the first half and expects to ship 22.5-23 million for the year.

Asustek begins marketing Eee PC X101/X101H netbooks [July 29, 2011]

Asustek Computer will begin marketing its low-priced Eee PC X101/X101H netbooks in the US, Taiwan and other markets by the end of July. For the US market, the Eee PC X101, which runs on Intel’s MeeGo OS, is priced at US$199, while the X101H, powered by Windows 7 Starter, is available at US$299.

Since global sales of netbooks have been pressed down drastically by the launch of tablet PCs, the roll-out of the Eee PC X101/X101H will be crucial for other vendors to decide whether they should continue to bring out new netbooks, according to industry sources.

More information from elsewhere:

Eee PC X101 from Eee PC X101 product site Eee PC X101H from ASUS Product Guide (July-August 2011)
Operating System MeeGo Genuine Windows® 7 Starter
Display 10.1″ LED Backlight WSVGA (1024×600) Screen 10.1″ LED Backlight WSVGA (1024×600) Screen
CPU Intel® Atom™ N435 [Q3’11, single core, 1.33GHz/0.5M cache]]/N455 Intel® Atom™ N455 [Q2’10, single core] (1.66GHz)/1M cache [?0.5M cache?]
Memory DDR3, 1 x SO-DIMM, 1GB (Maximum 2GB ) 1GB DDR3 RAM
Storage 2.5″ SATA 8GB SSD HDD,
2 GB DropBox cloud storage
250GB
Wireless Data Network WLAN 802.11 b/g/n@2.4GHz*1
Bluetooth V3.0*1
Integrated 802.11 b/g/n,
Bluetooth 3.0
Camera 0.3 M Pixel Camera Built-in Webcam
Audio Stereo Speakers
Interface 2 x USB 2.0,
1 x Audio Jack (Headphone/Mic-In),
1 x Card Reader : SD/ SDHC/ MMC
Battery 4hrs (3cells, 28W/h) battery life*
*Operation lifetime subject to product model, normal usage conditions and configurations. For more information, please visit our web site.
3 cell battery, 2600 mAh
Dimensions 262 x 180 x 17.6 mm (WxDxH) 262 x 180 x 22 mm (WxDxH)
Weight 0.92 Kgs (w/ 3cell battery) 1.02 Kgs (w/ 3 cell battery)
Color Texture : Red, White, Brown Texture : Red, White, Brown
Note *1 : Availability is dependent on selected model, country or operator support. Check with your local ASUS website for more details.

Eee PC X101H from ASUS Product Guide (July-August 2011)

The ASUS X101H is not just another netbook, it’s a social media machine. Super lightweight weighing less than 1.02 Kgs and only 22 mm thin, it still packs in the latest Intel® Atom™ CPU for exceptional performance. It comes in two flavors: the all-new MeeGo operating system, which boots up in seconds and integrates all your favorite social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr into one convenient and easy to use home screen, and the popular Windows® 7 OS, which has ASUS Instant On technology so you can resume your session in 2 seconds. Offered in a variety of stylish colors, it’s the perfect accessory for wanting to stay connected when traveling.

Eee PC X101 from Eee PC X101 product site

Colorful and light, right at your fingertips

· Wing-shaped inspired design, under 17.6mm

· Easy-use MeeGO operating system for real netbook usage

· Have fun with asus @vibe and asus app store for cloud content enjoyment

Slim profile

clip_image002The X101 was designed to be thin and lightweight, for maximum portability. Boasting a profile that’s less than 17.6 mm thick and weighing less than 920 gram, it easily slips into bags without adding much bulk. Featuring a comfortable chiclet keyboard for typing and large responsive touchpad, the X101 just screams to be used.

Your social networking companion – MeeGo OS

clip_image003Today’s digital life is all about staying connected. We write blogs, upload photos and stay connected with friends on countless social networking sites. The new MeeGo Operating System on the X101 brings the internet to you in a new intuitive interface, integrating Facebook, Twitter and other popular social media sites onto the homepage for quick access so you can stay connected even faster.

English learning application

The X101 isn’t all play; it’s also a learning tool. Included with the MeeGo OS is the British Council English Language Learning application, designed for people from non-native English speaking countries who aspire to improve their English. The product takes the form of a content bundle of interactive games, videos and mp3s which are preinstalled on the X101. Over 300 pieces of material was developed by English Language Training (ELT) leaders and the British Council, with the application designed by Intel’s award winning Performance Learning Solutions.

clip_image004

Cloud computing for everyone

The X101 is preloaded with not only the MeeGo OS, but also the ASUS App store so you can download applications and stay productive and entertained. Discover apps, games, extensions and themes for the Google Chrome web browser on the Chrome Webstore. Also available is access to asus @vibe, which provides a fun, easy and convenient center filled with rich cloud computing content. As an added bonus, the popular Dropbox online storage is preloaded so you can easily and seamlessly sync files across your desktop, netbook or smart phone.

ACCESS_icon

Chip Shot: MeeGo Netbooks Based on Intel Atom Arrive at Computex [Intel, May 31, 2011]

The ecosystem around MeeGo-based netbooks expands with the introduction of devices including the Acer Aspire One Happy 2, Asus Eee PC X101, Samsung N100 and Lenovo IdeaPad S100 at Computex. These systems are based on the new, 1.33 GHz single-core Intel® Atom™ processor N435. These netbooks will provide new levels of affordability for market expansion. Acer and Asus netbooks will come pre-loaded with the Intel AppUpSM center in select countries. Also at Computex, Acer demonstrated a MeeGo-based tablet on stage at the Intel netbook, tablet and software focused satellite event.

Intel officially unveils Atom N435 chip for low cost netbooks [June 1, 2011]

The Intel Atom N435 is a 1.33 GHz single core chip with 512K of cache and an estimated TDP of about 5W. As expected, it’s basically the newest and slowest member of the Intel Atom Pine Trail family. The next step up the ladder are the 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N450 and N455 chips which were introduced last year and which have TDP’s of 5.5W and 6.5W respectively.

Intel is making an interesting move by launching a new Pine Trail chip this summer. The company is pushing its new Oak Trail platform for tablets and will start shipping next-generation Cedar Trail chips for netbooks and notebooks soon. So why launch a new chip using last year’s tech and offering lessperformance?

In a word: price. The Atom N435 is a budget chip which makes dirt cheap netbooks like the Eee PC X101 possible. You also don’t need a blazing fast processor to offer decent performance with MeeGo Linux, an operating system optimized for Atom and other low power chips. I also suspect that Windows 7 will run reasonably well on the 1.33 GHz processor… I just wouldn’t expect good results with HD video playback.

Intel’s New Atom Processor to Lower Netbook Prices [PC World, June 1, 2011]

Intel on Wednesday [June 1] said it has introduced a new Atom processor to bring down the price of netbooks in emerging markets to under US$200.

Netbooks are generally priced above $250. New netbooks using the N435 will provide “new levels of affordability for emerging markets,” said Suzy Ramirez, an Intel spokeswoman, in an e-mail [to PC World].

Lower prices could also help draw renewed interest in netbooks, which are small and low-powered laptops for basic word processing and Internet surfing. After a phenomenal take-off in 2008, netbook shipments have stumbled in the last year, partly due to a growing interest in tablets.

ASUS “INNOVATION BEYOND EXPECTATIONS” AT COMPUTEX 2011 [Asustek, May 31, 2011]

Eee PC evolved

ASUS evolves the Eee PC further with new models that take netbooks to ever-greater heights. The new Eee PC X101 has been designed from the start to be the perfect ultraportable for modern mobile users, with its Intel® MeeGo operating system incorporating full support for a wide range of social networking services. Eee PC X101 Series netbooks are also offered with the Windows® 7 operating system, and models ship with both solid state and mechanical hard drive storage configurations.

ASUS Unveils New Innovations at Computex 2011 [Asustek, June 2, 2011]

New Eee PCs
ASUS are committed to developing the Eee PC range and bring users three new options for fully functional computing on the go.

The 10.1” Eee PC X101 is a true ultraportable with the Intel MeeGo OS and the latest Intel Atom 435 processor. Offering a QWERTY keyboard, wireless and full support for social networking it is the perfect companion for computing away from home.

The 10.1” Eee PC X101H is the X101’s big brother, with the added choice of either Intel MeeGo or Windows 7, and the option of either HDD or SSD drive. Featuring Instant On technology to bring the netbook to life in just seconds (and last 2 weeks in standby) plus a range of stylish colours, users can make a statement across the entertainment, work and fashion worlds.

There’s a reason the $200 Eee PC X101 will be so cheap [May 30, 2011]

… now that more specs are available, it turns out that Asus isn’t just keeping the price low by using open source software instead of paying for a Windows license. The company is also taking a page out of it’s 2008 playbook and offering the MeeGo Linux version of the Eee PC X101 with a small battery and very little storage.

Asus Eee PC X101H lands at the FCC [July 19, 2011]

Here’s a comparison between the Eee PC X101H (above) and the X101 (below) and you can see the difference in thickness, and port choice:

image

Thanks to MeeGo, Asus Makes Good on Its $200 Laptop Promise [PC World, July 28, 2011]

Reportedly due to begin shipping in September, the Eee PC X101 was first spotted earlier this week on several U.S. retailers’ websites, as Liliputing pointed out on Tuesday. At PCSuperStore, for instance, it’s now available for preorder at a price of $199.73, while at Directronit’s listed at $208.98.

Now there’s also an official product page for the machine on the Asus site, and the netbook turned up on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Exhibits List as well, complete with photos and a user manual.

Samsung launches new Super-Light N100 Netbook [July 21, 2011]

The N100 Netbook demonstrates Samsung’s continued innovation while delivering superior quality, mobility and satisfaction to our customers.

clip_image001[6]Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd,a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, today announced the launch of the N100 Netbook in India. Containing a powerful Intel Atom processor within a highly portable ultra-durable casing, the N100 is the answer for users looking for a simple, practical and connected device to use on-the-go.

“The N100’s design is based on our tremendously successful N150P Netbook, which has sold over 3 million units to date. The N100 Netbook demonstrates Samsung’s continued innovation while delivering superior quality, mobility and satisfaction to our customers. The N100 continues our line of high-quality Netbooks and represents superb value for money,” said Mr. Ranjit Yadav, Country Head, Samsung Mobile& IT.

Durable Design with an Anti-Reflective Screen

Despite weighing just 1.03kg, the integration of Samsung’s scratch-resistant Duracase ensures the Samsung N100 is durable and robust. The device delivers long-lasting reliability, which has been demonstrated through an exhaustive testing process. This durable portability ensures the device can be used for long stretches whilst on-the-move. However durability doesn’t have to come at the cost of design and the N100 is stylish and elegant and available in either black or white.

High quality video and pictures can be enjoyed both inside and outdoors with the device’s anti-reflective 10.1” LED display. The display contains a matt surface designed to reduce ‘mirror effect’, which allows longer use without undue strain on the eyes. The screen is also more resistant to scratching, enabling a higher quality viewing experience for a longer amount of time.

A User-Friendly Experience

Usability is at the heart of the N100’s design. The device includes Intel’s innovative MeeGo™ operating system*1 (OS), to deliver an efficient and enjoyable user experience. The interface has been designed to enable easy access to online and offline contents, while social networks can be viewed at a glance – meaning that it’s easier to stay connected. A fast boot-up process and energy-efficient design means that MeeGo™ is perfect for those on the move. A free DOS or Genuine Windows® 7*2 operating platform is also available as a factory option.

While the N100 may have a compact form factor, this does not impact upon the device’s usability. Thanks to the inclusion of an ergonomic keyboard with intelligent key spacing, typing is easier, faster and more accurate. The user experience is also enhanced through improved connectivity options; two USB ports enable the connection of additional peripheral devices as well as a VGA port to connect a larger external monitor.

Performance & Satisfaction Guaranteed

The N100 is powered by a dual[single] core Intel Atom processor, which combined with an Intel GMA 3510 graphics processor delivers a swift, responsive experience. The Intel Atom processor is also incredibly energy-efficient, making better use of the battery life and extending usage time when on-the-move. Power reduction is reduced by up to 50 times.

Pricing and Availability

The Samsung N100 Netbook is priced at Rs. 12,290/- [US$278]. With the addition N100, Samsung has a range of eight netbooks in its portfolio priced between Rs. 12,290/- to Rs. 21, 990/-.

Specifications

Display 10.1” (1024*600) WSVGA, Anti-reflective LED
Operating System* MeeGo
CPU* Intel® ATOM™ Processor N435 (1.33GHz)
Memory* 1 GB DDR3
HDD* 250 GB (5400 rpm)
Graphic Intel GMA 3150
Port GA, Headphone-out, Mic-in, 2 x USB 2.0,4-in-1 (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC), RJ45(LAN), DC-In(Power Port)
Battery 3 Cell (40 Watt)
Dimension 264 x 188.0 x 26.7~34.7 mm (10.3” x 7.4” x 1.05” ~ 1.36”)
Weight 1.03 kg (2.27lbs)

Acer repositioning for the post Wintel era starting with AMD Fusion APUs

Follow-Up (Aug 2, 2011):
Acer & Asus: Compensating lower PC sales by tablet PC push [March 29, 2011 with comprehensive update on Aug 2, 2011] which is showing serious technical and market problems with the original version of Honeycomb (particularly for Acer!) which are only now overcome

Acer reducing 2011 tablet PC shipment target by 50% [June 16, 2011]

Acer, on June 15, announced that the company has reduced its annual tablet PC shipment forecast from originally 5-7 million units to only 2.5-3 million units, a drop close to 50% and with brand vendors such as Motorola, RIM and Samsung Electronics all reportedly having reduced their tablet PC sales targets for 2011, concerns about whether Android-based tablet PCs will be able to compete against Apple’s iPad are starting to rise among market watchers.

At the company’s investors meeting on June 15, Acer chairman JT Wang pointed out that the company is currently in the middle of a great transition and the company’s current goal is to lower its retail channel inventory. The company expects to continue working on digesting its inventory throughout the third quarter with expectations to have an inventory level the same as 7-8 years ago. Although Acer will reduce its annual tablet PC shipments, Wang is still confident about the performance of Android-based tablet PCs.

Wang pointed out that all the things that the closed system can do will all be able to function in the open system, but if consumers use the former, they will need to follow everything the closed system designers says and have no choice for expansion, or run Flash, and will not be able to be their own master. Acer is trying to serve consumers who want to make their own decisions.

Wang noted that after taking a series of emergency measures, Acer is currently in a safer state than before and should reach its shipment goal for the second quarter of a sequential drop of 10%. For the future, Wang expects Acer’s third-quarter shipments to share a similar volume as in the second with a chance to be better. Its performance will bounce out of the button after the third quarter.

In addition to reducing inventory, the company is also working on reorganizing its employee management and is set to lay off about 300 employees in Europe, Africa and the Middle-East, while the US, Greater China and Asia Pacific markets will see no changes.

Acer president Jim Wong pointed out that the company already shipped 800,000 tablet PCs before the end of June and with the launch of its new 7-inch tablet PC, Acer’s tablet PC shipments in the third quarter will reach 800,000 units. Wong added that the estimated numbers are all retail channel sales and include no additional ‘push’.

Acer may fall out of the worldwide top-3 notebook ranking in 2Q11 [June 16, 2011]

As Acer is still working on resolving its notebook inventory issues and expects to suffer a sequential shipment drop of 10% in the second quarter, Lenovo, the fourth-largest global PC vendor, which is expected to see shipment growth in the quarter may surpass Acer and become the third-largest PC vendor worldwide.

In the first quarter of 2011, Acer shipped 9.01 million PCs and ranked the third-largest PC vendor worldwide with Lenovo behind with shipments of 8.18 million units, a gap of about 800,000 unit, according to data from IDC. If Acer sees shipments drop, while Lenovo enjoys an increase, the two firms may see their ranking switch in the third quarter.

In addition to strong PC demand in the China market, Lenovo’s acquisition of NEC’s PC business has successfully helped Lenovo to become the largest vendor in Japan, while its purchase of Germany-based brand Medion also significantly raised its visibility in Western Europe.

However, Acer president Jim Wong, at its investor conference on June 15, pointed out that Acer lost about 3% share in the EMEA market while clearing its inventory, but the situation already turned stable in May and Acer is expected to maintain its advantage in the market.

Acer decreases netbook shipments to focus on tablet PCs, say Taiwan makers [June 15, 2011]

Acer shipped 400,000-500,000 netbooks in May, 50% fewer than in April, and will maintain such decreased shipments in June and July, implying that Acer will not give up netbooks but will shift R&D and operational resources from the product line to tablet PCs, according to Taiwan-based makers in its supply chain.

With Acer’s tablet PC orders quickly rising to 200,000-300,000 units per month in May, the sources are optimistic about Acer’s strategy to turn its focus to the tablet PC as the profitability generated by netbooks is much lower than that of tablet PCs, and Acer’s upstream partners should all benefit from the higher gross margins of tablet PC products.

In addition to Acer, players such as Asustek Computer, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Lenovo have all switched their focus to tablet PCs, although the players are still launching new netbook products, related marketing resources invested are rather low compared to before, as netbooks can be easily substituted by tablet PCs.

Although Acer is turning its focus to the tablet PC market, the company still launched its second-generation Aspire One Happy this month in the US and Europe.

Acer notebook shipments in retail channel expected to surpass 3 million in June [June 14, 2011]

Acer’s notebook shipments in the retail channel are expected to surpass three million units in June and if the company’s upstream partners such as Compal Electronics, Wistron and Quanta Computer all see increased shipments in the month, it will indicate that Acer has achieved a great advance in digesting its inventory and should return to its normal operation in near future, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

Acer only shipped about 1.6-1.8 million notebooks to the retail channel in April and the volume increased close to 60% on month in May; however, notebook shipments of Acer’s upstream partners did not enjoy the same amount of growth in May, especially Compal, which only shipped 3.6-3.7 million notebooks including tablet PCs in both April and May. Compal even saw s shipment drop on month in May, indicating that Acer was still working of digesting its inventory.

The sources pointed out that Acer still has a high inventory level in Europe retail channel, but since the company has already seen improvements in both Southeast Asia and China, the company is now working aggressively to clear up its remaining inventory through its global logistic system with estimates of seeing shipments of 7.2-7.4 million notebooks in the second quarter.

Acer’s non-consolidated revenues in May grew 25.9% on month indicating that the company is seeing slow recovery in its operation, but since the company still has not yet provided its guidance for the third quarter, the sources expect Acer to have chance to release the related information at its investor conference on June 15.

Acer shareholders approve cash dividend and elect new board of directors [June 15, 2011]

Acer’s shareholders have approved the 2011 cash dividend of NT$3.60 (US$0.12) per share, and the reduction of employee bonuses for 2010 by 40%. Shareholders also elected a new board of directors and supervisors.

Acer announced in early June plans to lower channel inventory in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) by providing US$150 million in sales allowances and a one-time write off. The board and supervisors also voluntarily cut their remuneration by 50%. Today, the shareholders further approved plans to reduce employee bonuses by 40%, from NT$1.5 billion to NT$900 million. The cash dividend of NT$3.60 per share remains unchanged.

Shareholders elected a new board of directors and supervisors for the next three-year term. The newly elected seven-member board consists of JT Wang, Stan Shih, Hung Rouan Investment, Philip Peng, representing Smart Capital, Hsin-I Lin (former chairman of Industrial Technology Research Institute), Dr FC Tseng, and Sir Julian Horn-Smith. The supervisors are Carolyn Yeh and George Huang.

New to the board are the independent directors FC Tseng and Julian Horn-Smith. Acer expects to benefit from the knowledge and experience of Tseng and Horn-Smith, who are both globally distinguished talents. Their contribution from an independent standpoint to the company strategy, along with the board, will create a strong and well-rounded team to lead the corporation forward and enhance corporate governance, the company said.

Tsengco-founded Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) as a pioneer specializing in the foundry-only semiconductor manufacturing business. A core member of the TSMC management, he is also considered a veteran in the semiconductor industry. Horn-Smith was a founding member of Vodafone Group and is regarded as the principal architect in developing Vodafone’s international strategy. He retired from the Vodafone board in July 2006, where he held the title of deputy CEO.

What is an APU? [Jan 8, 2011]

With Fusion technology from AMD, the PC industry will be changed forever. AMD is incorporating multi-core CPU (x86) technology, a powerful DirectX®11-capable discrete-level graphics and parallel processing engine onto a single die to create the first Accelerated Processing Unit (APU). Learn how AMD is doing that here.

Computex 2011: AMD announces solution for tablet PC [June 2, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

AMD, at its press conference at Computex 2011, announced a new 40nm Z series APU codenamed Desna to target the tablet PC market, according to Rick Bergman, Senior Vice President and General Manager Products Group, AMD.

In 2012, the company will advance its Z series APU to a new structure with a codename Hondo. The Hondo-based Z series APU will have an even lower power consumption to allow it to become more suitable for tablet PC products.

Bergman pointed out that AMD’s tablet PCs will be deeply integrated with operating systems such as Windows to support HTML 5, Adobe Flash 10.2 and external screens, and will add enterprise-level security functions to make them suitable also for the enterprise market.

Bergman, at the conference, also displayed AMDs 28nm Trinity APU, which is set for mass production in 2012.

AMD also announced its 9-series chipset, a part of AMD’s new desktop Scorpius platform. In addition to the chipset, the Scorpius platform is formed with an eight-core Zambezi processor and Radeon HD 6000 series discrete graphics card.

The 9-series chipset supports AMD’s AM3+ CPU and is backward compatible with AM3-based CPUs. With native support for AMD’s CrossFireX, the chipset can support up to four Radeon graphics cards and through AMD’s OverDrive software, the chipset can also manage the clock speed of each card.

A New Visual Computing Experience for Tablets | Fusion – AMD Blogs [May 31, 2011]

While I’m not planning to edit or create any PowerPoint decks on a tablet anytime soon, I personally see value in a tablet that gives me both the ability to consume and create content. For example, one of the applications I use every day in my work and home life is the OneNote application in Microsoft Office. Being able to access it across multiple devices via Windows Live has been invaluable for me of late. When I tried to access this on a non-Windows device, you can see what the result was in this picture below:

This is why I’m looking forward to getting my hands on one of the new tablets based on the new Z series AMD Fusion APU, code-named “Desna”. At Computex earlier today, we announced these new AMD Fusion APUs as part of our 2011 AMD HD Tablet Platform targeted at the fast-growing number of Windows-based tablet designs coming to market. And since a press release can only tell part of the story, here’s what you can expect from tablets powered by the new 2011 AMD HD Tablet Platform:

  • AMD Z-01 APU with AMD Radeon™ HD 6250 discrete-class graphics. This APU features two 1 GHz “Bobcat” CPU cores and checks in at TDP of 5.9 watts.
  • Full intelligence and operability of the Windows® 7 OS
  • Consistency in user interface and applications from work to home
  • Full access to view and edit work and personal documents created in Microsoft Office and other leading applications
  • Free and automatic online Windows 7 OS updates to enable the most current features
  • Full compatibility with iPhone, Windows Phone, Blackberry and other leading mobile phones
  • Seamless connectivity with virtually any USB device
  • HDMI support to enable a full 1080p visual experience
  • Full compatibility with XBOX 360 Media Extender Functionality

The AMD Z-Series Fusion APUs are shipping today. MSI’s WinPad 110W is the first tablet announced by an OEM that leverages the new platform, giving consumers high-end performance graphics in a tablet that takes advantage of the Windows ecosystem –  the largest installed base of any client platform … by a wide margin.

One final thought, a company to keep your radar screen as you do your tablet research is BlueStacks. BlueStacks is helping to reshape the tablet ecosystem by essentially bridging the Windows and Android ecosystems together, thus opening up new application possibilities in the amazing clarity and detail that only an AMD Fusion APU-powered tablet can offer.

Look for a review of my experience on the MSI WinPad 110W in the coming weeks on our AMD Fusion blog.

Computex 2011: AMD Announces Bobcat-based Z Series APUs for Tablet Market [June 1, 2011]

While AMD does not have a true SoC to combat the likes of Intel, NVIDIA, and ARM, this doesn’t mean they’re completely ignoring the market for the type of devices SoCs normally go in. Announced today at Computex 2011 and shipping immediately will be AMD’z Z series APUs, AMD’s formal entry into the modern tablet market.

While at this time it’s nigh-on impossible to get into a phone without a SoC (just ask Intel), tablets can be more forgiving. With a larger device and a larger battery, such devices don’t necessarily have the same extreme integration requirements and battery life requirements as a phone, even if the processors used in such devices are often the same. As a result of AMD’s current resources and technologies, it’s the tablet market that they have decided to go after first.

The Z-series, codename “Desna”, currently has a single APU that is shipping immediately: the Z-01.

AMD APU Lineup
APU Model
Number of Bobcat Cores
CPU Clock Speed
GPU
Number of GPU Cores
GPU Clock Speed
TDP
AMD Z-01
2
1.0GHz
Radeon HD 6250
80
276Mhz
5.9W
AMD C-30
1
1.2GHz
Radeon HD 6250
80
280MHz
9W
AMD C-50
2
1.0GHz
Radeon HD 6250
80
280MHz
9W
AMD E-240
1
1.5GHz
Radeon HD 6310
80
500MHz
18W
AMD E-350
2
1.6GHz
Radeon HD 6310
80
500MHz
18W

The Z-01, as near as we can tell, is a power optimized version of AMD’s existing C-50 APU. It features the same dual-core CPU design, using a pair of Bobcat CPU cores running at 1GHz. The GPU meanwhile is a Radeon HD 6250, and while AMD hasn’t listed the clocks, we believe it’s clocked at the same 280MHz as in the C-50. We don’t have any information on whether AMD is using the same packaging for the Z-01 as they are the C series, but otherwise the available specifications are identical to the C-50 with one exception: TDP. While the C-50 is rated for 9W, the Z-01 is rated for 5.9W. Given the 33% power reduction, it’s a fair guess that AMD is binning Ontario chips to find ones that operate at the low voltages Z-01 would require.

Based on what we’ve seen with the C-50, the Z-01 should perform far above any other tablet processor. However the 5.9W TDP means that it’s not going to be in the same market as the likes of OMAP 4, Tegra 2, Apple’s A5, or even Intel’s Moorestown. All of these SoCs/platforms use well under 5.9W, and with the exception of Moorestown are all ARM based.

Ontario and Atom by Hans de Vries [Sept 16, 2010] [he is an industry and enthusiast community veteran]

Improved image with some benchmark info:

http://www.chip-architect.com/news/AMD_Ontario_Bobcat_vs_Intel_Pineview_Atom.jpg

[Such sensity is indicating that TSMC’s 40nm process is quite dense. If these numbers hold true that would mean Ontario is not only smaller than Atom, but also much higher performing. Note the amount of die area dedicated to graphics. This is going to be very good for entry level systems.]

Re: Welcome Llano! by Hans de Vries [March 13, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Azazel wrote:
BTW, did you notice that top speed of mobile 4c Llano is just 1.8GHz when mobile 4c/8t SB lies in 2.2/2.3 GHz.
Why is that?

The “top-speed” part is made up by you……….

A 1.8GHz quad core AMD propus uses only 25W at 45nm.
Expect the power dissipation of the four 32nm Llano cores to reach far lower levels as that. It will get under 15W at 1.8GHz when the process matures.

Intel doesn’t have any quad core mobile processor running at less than 45 Watt, not even at 32nm. 45W is too much power dissipation especially if you also want a bit of reasonable (discrete) graphics in your very expensive notebook.

It’s seems we’ll have to wait until 2013 when Intel’s 22nm process matures enough to yield an economic quad core Ivy Bridge before we’ll see a quad core Intel mobile processor for the mainstream mobile market.

Regards, Hans

Acer Iconia Tab W500 Microsoft® Windows® 7 Tablet Delivers Ultimate Productivity for Customers in North America [April 21, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Acer America today announced that the Acer Iconia Tab W500 – a 10.1-inch tablet running Microsoft® Windows® 7 – is available for sale now in North America.

The Acer Iconia Tab W500 is the ultimate productivity device for anyone who wants the flexibility and mobility of a tablet with the efficiency and familiarity of a Windows PC. It’s especially ideal for schools, small businesses, and for industries such as healthcare that need a tablet to be productive and stay in touch as they move around their work environment. In addition, customers can use the tablet to keep up with social networks and enjoy digital entertainment at work, at home and on the go.

The unique design centers on the high-resolution 10.1-inch multi-touch screen. Supporting multi-touch allows customers to interact intuitively with the display to check email, access websites, use cloud-based applications, and enjoy digital media. When it’s time to focus on productivity and creating content such as reports, spreadsheets and presentations, customers can get a true notebook PC experience with the system’s full-size chiclet docking keyboard.

“The Acer Iconia Tab W500 is the perfect tablet for people who want the touch capabilities that are so natural and efficient on the go, but also need a Windows environment to access productivity applications for work and school,” said Eric Ackerson, senior product marketing manager, Acer America. “So much of what we’re doing on the go is accessing information and consuming content in cloud-based applications, such as realtors and salespeople who need access to databases and Intranet sites. The Acer Iconia Tab W500 is the ultimate reflection of our lives – able to multitask between work and fun, and ready at a moment’s notice.”

“We’re pleased to see Acer continue to drive innovation that delivers new, exciting computing experiences to customers,” said Soren Lau, general manager of OEM Marketing, Microsoft Corporation. “The Acer Iconia Tab W500 combines the familiarity, security and portability of Windows 7 with entertainment and social connection features that allow customers to work and play on a single PC.”

Innovative Design Boosts Productivity
The combination of a responsive and intuitive touch experience with a dedicated docking keyboard makes the Acer Iconia Tab W500 a productivity booster. The full-size chiclet docking keyboard easily connects to the tablet via USB, holding it up at a comfortable viewing angle. The keyboard also provides docking station capabilities with extended connectivity of an Ethernet port for fast Internet connections, and a USB port for external devices. Plus, the docking keyboard features the Acer FineTrack™ pointing device with two buttons for convenient navigation.

When it’s time to transport the Acer Iconia Tab W500, the tablet deftly connects to the docking keyboard with quick-linking magnets, transforming it into an easy-to-store clamshell notebook. It easily fits in a briefcase or book bag. If users want to minimize travel weight, they can simply leave the keyboard behind; the tablet weighs only 2.14 pounds and measures 10.83(W) x 7.48(D) x 0.63(H) inches. The additional docking keyboard weighs 1.34 pounds and measures 10.83(W) x 7.48(D) x 0.43-0.77(H) inches.

The embedded Acer PowerSmart long-life 3260 mAh Li-polymer battery pack delivers up to four hours of unplugged HD video playback and six hours of Internet browsing.(1)

Configurations, Availability and Pricing
The Acer Iconia Tab W500 is available in two models: the W500-BZ467 with Windows® 7 Home Premium has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $549.99, while the W500P-BZ841 with Windows® 7 Professional has a MSRP of $619.00. Both models are ready to be used for productivity and creation with Microsoft® Office Starter 2010 and are now available for sale at select retailers and channel partners in the United States.

The Acer Iconia Tab W500-BZ607 with Windows® 7 Home Premium is available at select retailers and channel partners in Canada for a MSRP of $599 CAD. The Acer Iconia Tab W500P-BZ412 with Windows® 7 Professional has a MSRP of $649.00 CAD and will be available in the channel by end of June.

Meaningful Communication with Video, Voice, Internet
Staying in touch on the go is easy with the Acer Iconia Tab W500. Customers can connect to Wi-Fi networks with reliable Acer InviLink Nplify 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi CERTIFIED wireless technology at home and on the go for Internet access, checking email, and staying current on everything from news and blog sites to their Twitter feed. They also have Bluetooth to connect to printers, keyboards and other Bluetooth devices.

Two Acer Crystal Eye 1.3MP webcams – one each on the front and back of the device – used with Acer Video Conference Manager, let customers engage in video conferencing, as well as record HD videos and then quickly share them on Facebook, YouTube and other sites. The tablet also delivers excellent audio with Acer PureZone technology with two built-in stereo microphones featuring beam forming, echo cancellation, and noise suppression technologies.

Entertainment and Fun on the Go with Latest Technology
Work seamlessly blends into entertainment in so many ways today, and the Acer Iconia Tab W500 can be used to handle productivity and fun simultaneously. Powered by an AMD C-50 processor and supported by 2GB of DDR3 memory, the tablet delivers fast and reliable mobile performance. It also boasts integrated ATI Radeon HD 6250 graphics for realistic, crisp visuals on movies, web video and games. It also supports Adobe Flash and comes installed with Adobe Flash 10.1.

The tablet is ready to play back high definition Internet content and 1080p video on the high resolution 1280×800 LED-backlit display. Plus, sound is vibrant and clear with Dolby® advanced audio v2. The models come with a 32GB solid state drive,(2) which provides incredibly fast data access while reducing weight and noise. The SD card reader can support SD cards up to 32GB in capacity.(2)

The ambient light sensor on the Acer Iconia Tab W500 allows it to be used in a range of environments. The integrated accelerometer provides auto-rotation between portrait and landscape modes for viewing presentations, documents, websites, movies, games and more in the most appropriate orientation.

Acer Ring Elevates Intuitive Touch Experience
Like all Acer Iconia products, the core of the Acer Iconia Tab W500 touch experience is the Acer Ring. Easy to launch with a simple grab gesture, it offers immediate access to special features and touch applications. By placing five fingers in a circular pattern, the Acer Ring appears to let consumers surf the web, capture screen images, post photos and status updates, watch movies and more, all in the manner most comfortable and natural to them.

Utilities in the Acer Ring include Clean Disk to manage and optimize disk space; Snipping Tool to quickly select, tag, and clip screen images; Device Control to fine-tune the tablet settings; Camera to launch Acer Crystal Eye Webcam; Calculator and Games.
The Acer Ring also features a series of AppCards that enhance everyday usage:

  • TouchBrowser provides a touch-optimized browsing experience to let customers search for, open, resize, and select content from the web.
  • SocialJogger connects three of the most popular social networking sites – Flickr, Facebook, and YouTube – in a single interface so that customers can connect with and update their networks holistically.
  • My Journal lets customers collect web clips that are dynamically updated to stay posted on news of interest.
  • Scrapbook is a convenient place to store, annotate and share website and photo images and other content.
  • TouchPhoto, TouchMusic and TouchVideo provide direct access to multimedia files stored on the tablet.

clear.fi for Digital Media Sharing
Acer clear.fi is the digital media sharing system that lets customers enjoy their digital media content across their home quickly and effortlessly. Clear.fi automatically connects all Acer devices on a network (smartphones, notebooks, desktops, HD media players and storage devices) and then gathers and organizes media files by type (video, music, photo, pre-recorded TV). Users can browse the categories and then drag and drop the media to any of the connected PCs or devices for playback. The HDMI port with HDCP support ensures a single cable for true HD audio and video output.

ICONIA FAQ 13 (emphasis is mine)

Q: Does a stylus work on the Acer Iconia TAB W500 or Acer ICONIA dual screen touchbook?

A: Yes, a stylus that is compatible with capacitive touch screens can function on the Acer Iconia TAB W500 or Acer ICONIA dual screen touchbook.

Specifications Part Number: ICONIATabW500 Acer ICONIA Tab W500 Tablet Series

Following are the specifications for the Acer ICONIA Tab W500.
Specifications are subject to change without notice or obligation.

Feature
Specification
Operating System
Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 32-bit
CPU and chipset1
AMD C-Series dual-core processor C-50 (1 MB L2 cache, 1 GHz, DDR3 1066 MHz, 9 W)
AMD A50M Fusion™ Controller Hub
Memory1, 2,
Up to 2 GB of DDR3 onboard system memory
Display1
10.1″ HD 1280 x 800 resolution, high-brightness (350-nit), 146 PPI Acer CrystalBrite™ LED-backlit TFT LCD with integrated multi-touch screen, supporting finger touch and image auto rotation
Wide viewing angle up to 80/80/80/80 degrees (up/down/left/right)
Mercury-free, environment-friendly
Graphics
AMD Radeon™ HD 6250 Graphics with 256 MB of dedicated system memory, supporting Unified Video Decoder 3 (UVD3), OpenGL® 3.1, OpenEXR High Dynamic-Range (HDR) technology, Shader Model 5.0, Microsoft® DirectX® 11
Dual independent display support
16.7 million colors
External resolution / refresh rates3:
  • VGA port up to 1920 x 1200: 60 Hz
  • HDMI™ port up to 1920 x 1080: 60 Hz
MPEG-2 DVD decoding
VC-1 and H.264 AVC decoding
MPEG-4 Part 2 DivX® decoding
HDMI® (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) with HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) support
Audio
Optimized Dolby® Advanced Audio® v2 audio enhancement, featuring Audio Optimizer, Audio Regulator, Volume Leveler, Volume Maximizer, and Surround Virtualizer (for built-in speakers) technologies4
High-definition audio support
Two built-in stereo speakers
MS-Sound compatible
Acer PureZone technology with two built-in stereo microphones, featuring beam forming, echo cancellation, and noise suppression technologies
Storage
Solid state drive
  • 32 GB or larger, with mini-SATA (mSATA™) interface connector1, 5,
2-in-1 card reader, supporting:
  • Secure Digital™ (SD) Card, MultiMediaCard™ (MMC)
  • Storage cards with adapter: miniSD™, microSD™, Reduced-Size Multimedia Card (RS-MMC)
Webcam
Acer Video Conference1, featuring:
  • Dual Acer Crystal Eye webcams with 1280 x 1024 resolution
  • Acer Video Conference Manager software, featuring Video Quality Enhancement (VQE) technology, supporting online video calls6
  • Acer PureZone technology
Wireless and networking
WLAN:1, 7, 8,
  • Acer InviLink™ Nplify™ 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™
  • Acer InviLink™ 802.11b/g Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ (available only in Russia, Pakistan, Ukraine)
  • Supporting Acer SignalUp™ wireless technology
WPAN:1 Bluetooth® 3.0+HS
LAN: Fast Ethernet on the dock
Dimensions and weight
Dimensions
275 (W) x 190 (D) x 15.95 (H) mm (10.83 x 7.48 x 0.63 inches) for the tablet
275 (W) x 190 (D) x 11/19.5 (H) mm (10.83 x 7.48 x 0.43/0.77 inches) for the dock
Weight
0.97 kg (2.14 lbs.)9 with 3-cell embedded battery for the tablet
0.61 kg (1.34 lbs.)9 for the dock
Power adapter and battery1
Product Safety Electric Appliance and Materials (PSE) certified for battery pack
Power adapter
2-pin 40 W Acer MiniGo AC adapter:
  • 93.2 (W) x 48 (D) x 32.2 (H) mm (3.66 x 1.88 x 1.26 inches)
  • 180 g (0.39 lbs.)9 with 250 cm DC cable
Embedded battery
  • Acer PowerSmart long-life battery, supporting up to 1,000 charge cycles10
  • 36 Wh 3260 mAh 3-cell Li-polymer embedded battery
Battery life: 6 hours11 for Internet browsing; 4 hours11 for 720p HD video playback
Input and control
84-/85-/88-key full-size Acer FineTip keyboard with international language support on the dock
Acer FineTrack™ with two FineTrack™ buttons
Dedicated Windows® key supporting single-press for Windows Start; single-press combined with power button for Ctrl+Alt+Del
Dedicated volume up/down keys
Rotation lock switch
Input and output
2-in-1 card reader (SD™, MMC)
Two USB 2.0 ports each on the tablet and the dock
HDMI® port with HDCP support
Headphone/speaker jack, supporting 3.5 mm headset with built-in microphone for Acer smart handhelds
Ethernet (RJ-45) port on the dock
DC-in jack for AC adapter
Sensors
Ambient light sensor
G-Sensor
Software16
Productivity
  • Acer Ring
  • Acer ePower Management
  • Adobe® Flash® Player 10.1
  • Adobe® Reader® 9.1
  • AUPEO! (US only)
  • Bing™ Bar
  • Device Control
  • Kobo™ (Canada only)
  • Microsoft® Office 2010 preloaded (purchase a product key to activate)13
  • Microsoft® Office Starter 201014
  • New York Times Reader (US only)
  • NOOK for PC (US only)
Security
  • McAfee® Internet Security Suite Trial15
Multimedia
  • Acer clear.fi
Gaming
  • WildTangent® Tablet Edition
Communication and ISP
  • Acer Crystal Eye for dual cameras
  • Acer Video Conference Manager1
  • Microsoft® Silverlight™
  • My Journal
  • SocialJogger
  • Skype™
  • TouchBrowser
  • Windows Live™ Essentials 20111
Web links and Utilities
  • Acer Identity Card
  • Acer Registration
  • Acer Updater
  • eBay® shortcut 2009 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, UK, US only)
  • Netflix shortcut (US only)
Ecocompliance
ENERGY STAR®, WEEE, RoHS, Mercury-free
Options and accessories
Optional:
  • Exclusive USB keyboard dock
  • 2-pin 40 W Acer MiniGo AC adapter
  • External USB HDD
  • External USB ODD
Warranty
One-year International Travelers Warranty (ITW)
Windows®. Life without Walls™. Acer recommends Windows 7.
  1. Specifications vary depending on model.
  2. Shared system memory may be allocated to support graphics, depending on system memory size and other factors. Actual system memory available to the operating system will be reduced by any memory used by the graphics solution and resources required by the operating environment.
  3. Resolution/refresh rates depend on display capability and color/depth settings.
  4. Dolby® is a registered trademark of Dolby® Laboratories. Dolby® Home Theater® is a trademark of Dolby® Laboratories.
  5. 1 GB is 1 billion bytes. Actual formatted capacity is less and may vary depending on preloaded materials and operating environment.
  6. Two VQE-enabled Acer notebooks with dual-core processors are required to enjoy the exclusive benefits and added performance of VQE.
  7. Actual throughput may vary depending on network conditions and environmental factors such as network traffic or overhead, building construction, and access point settings.
  8. Acer Nplify™, a high-throughput wireless solution, delivers superior performance and reliable connections while enabling emerging voice, video and data applications. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™, it supports Acer SignalUp™ wireless technology and is compliant with 802.11a/b/g/n and 802.11b/g standards.
  9. Weight may vary depending on product configuration, vendor components, manufacturing variability, and selected options.
  10. The battery will hold up to 80% of its original capacity after as many as 1,000 recharges. A full recharge comprises a complete charge-and-discharge cycle, and does not always occur each time the notebook is plugged in to a power source, as several partial charges can add up to a full recharge.
  11. The listed battery life is based on the following test conditions: wireless on; 150-nit LCD brightness; 3G, light sensor, Bluetooth® off; McAfee® anti-virus program enabled; Windows® scheduled programs and Standby/Hibernation power states disabled. Battery life rating is for comparison purposes only. Actual battery life varies by model, configuration, applications, power management settings, operating conditions, and utilized features. A battery’s maximum capacity decreases with time and use.
  12. Bundled software may vary depending on hardware configuration, OS and regional availability.
  13. Purchase an Office 2010 product key to activate one of the following Office 2010 suites preloaded on this PC: Office Home and Student 2010, Office Home and Business 2010, Office Professional 2010.
  14. Includes limited-functionality Microsoft® Word and Excel with advertising; no PowerPoint or Outlook. Purchase Office 2010 to activate full-featured Office.
  15. Trial periods vary depending on the geographic region and specifications: 365-day trial for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore (Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese OS models); 60-day trial for other regions.

Acer places orders for 80,000 Z series APUs from AMD for tablet PCs [June 9, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Acer has recently placed orders for 80,000 Z series APUs from AMD for use in tablet PCs, targeting the enterprise market, according to sources from upstream component makers. However, both Acer and AMD did not confirm the orders.

In addition to Acer, Micro-Star International (MSI) is also developing tablet PC models using AMD’s APU.

Since Google Android 3.0 currently still has issues which need to be resolved, while the next-generation Android operating system codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich will not appear until the end of 2011, some tablet PC vendors have decided to launch Windows 7-based tablet PCs targeting the enterprise market to maintain their shipments.

Since Intel’s Oak Trail-based Atom processor is higher in both price and power consumption, several notebook vendors have already started considering AMD’s platform. In addition to Acer and MSI, some vendors have also started inquiring about AMD’s Z series APU.

AMD’s Z series APU is produced through Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC’s) 40nm process and is already shipping, targeting the Windows-based tablet PC market, noted the sources adding that they expect shipments of Z series APUs to reach at least 500,000 units in the second half of 2011, creating strong pressure on Intel’s Oak Trail processor.

AMD announces details of a new generation of Fusion chips for 2011-2012 – slideshow [June 15, 2011]

AMD has now announced a complete line of series hybrid CPU + GPU Fusion chip designed for portable computers and mobile devices such as tablet (see previous news from the list of chips). In addition, AMD has presented information on the rest of the Fusion generation including processors that will compete with Intel’s Sandy Bridge generation – details can be seen on the slides.

AMD announces A series APUs for mainstream PCs [June 14, 2011]

AMD has announced the availability of the new high-performance AMD Fusion A series accelerated processing units (APUs) for consumer notebooks and desktops.

The AMD A series APUs combine up to four x86 CPU cores with an integrated DirectX 11-capable discrete-level graphics unit that features up to 400 Radeon cores along with dedicated HD video processing on a single chip. AMD A series APUs also support features such as gesture interfaces, multiple-monitors, 3D and real-time image stabilization.

The AMD A series APUs (Llano) are currently shipping and scheduled to appear in more than 150 notebooks and desktops from the global OEMs throughout the second quarter of 2011 and beyond. Delivering serial and parallel computing capabilities for HD video, 3D rendering and data-intensive workloads in a single-die processor, the AMD A Series APUs offer software developers unprecedented power and potential in an ever smaller package, said AMD.

The AMD A series APUs are capable of delivering more than 10.5 hours of battery life during idle mode, a more than 50% increase compared to AMD’s previous mainstream platform. Additionally, AMD dynamic switchable graphics optimize battery life on PCs featuring AMD dual-graphics solutions by intelligently managing power states on the APU and separate discrete AMD Radeon GPU.

TSMC wins orders for 28nm GPU from AMD, says paper [June 17, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

AMD reportedly has completed the tape-out of its next-generation GPU, codenamed Southern Islands, on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC) 28nm process with High-k Metal Gate (HKMG) technology, according to a Chinese-language Commercial Times report. The chip is set to expected to enter mass produciton at the end of 2011.

TSMC will also be AMD’s major foundry partner for the 28nmKrishna and Wichita accelerated processing units (APUs), with volume production set to begin in the first half of 2012, the report said.

TSMC reportedly contract manufactures the Ontario, Zacate and Desna APUs for AMD as well as the Northern Island family of GPUs. All of these use the foundry’s 40nm process technology.

TSMC was quoted as saying in previous reports that it had begun equipment move-in for the phase one facility of a new 12-inch fab (Fab 15) with volume production of 28nm technology products slated for the fourth quarter of 2011. The foundry previously said it would begin moving equipment into the facility in June, with volume production expected to kick off in the first quarter of 2012.

Foundry partners for next-generation AMD APU and GPU series
Product/Partner 2011 2012
Mainstream and high-end APU Llano Trinity
Foundry partners Globalfoundries 32nm SOI Globalfoundries 32nm SOI
Entry-level APU targeting tablets Ontario/ Zacate/ Desna Krishna/Wichita
Foundry partners TSMC 40nm TSMC 28nm HKMG, Globalfoundries 28nm HKMG
GPU Northern Islands Southern Islands
Foundry partners TSMC 40nm TSMC 28nm HKMG

Source: Commercial Times [Chinese language], compiled by Digitimes, June 2011

AMD Said to Contract TSMC, GlobalFoundries to Make 28nm Chips [June 20, 2011]

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is reportedly to designate Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) as its primary contract supplier of 28nm Krishna/Wichita microprocessors early next year and GlobalFoundries as another contract source later in 2012, according to local media.

The report said that Krishna/Wichita are the next-generation versions of the low-end AMD Ontario/Zacate family. AMD has contracted TSMC, currently the world`s No.1 pure silicon foundry, to build its Ontario/Zacate processors and the Desna processors meant for tablet PCs using 40nm process technology.

Robust demand for Ontario/Zacate and Desna processors in developing economies has promoted AMD to ramp up contracts to TSMC.

Also, AMD Northern Island-family graphics processing units are under volume production at TSMC based on 40nm process. The graphics lineup`s next generation, the 28nm Southern Island family, has seen its tapeout completed by TSMC, which is expected to start contract manufacturing of the chips for AMD by the end of this year.

AMD`s 32nm Llano processors have entered into volume production at GlobalFoudries. The report also noted that GlobalFoundries will be also a major contract manufacturer of AMD`s Trinity processors, which are designed on 32nm SOI rule, in 2012. Trinity is developed for laptops and more efficient than Llano.

Globalfoundries names interim CEO, new key management appointments [June, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

The board of directors of Globalfoundries, along with its majority shareholder the Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), has announced its new leadership.

Semiconductor industry veteran Ajit Manocha has been appointed interim CEO of Globalfoundries. James Norling will serve as executive chairman and Ibrahim Ajami will serve as VP of the company’s board of directors. All appointments are effective immediately.

Doug Grose, who has served as CEO of Globalfoundries since its inception, will transition to become senior adviser to Globalfoundries and ATIC with a focus on technology leadership and ensuring delivery of next generation technologies for competitive differentiation. COO Chia Song Hwee will remain with the company in that position until August 2011, when he will return to be part of Singapore’s business future, Globalfoundries indicated.

“Doug Grose and Chia Song Hwee formed the foundation of Globalfoundries, bringing together the world’s leading-edge manufacturing technology with the heritage of a full-service foundry partner,” said Norling. “This new leadership team will build on that foundation, as we increase investment in technology, capacity and talent while optimizing performance.”

Norling also said an executive search for a permanent CEO has already begun. Manocha’s focus is to work closely with top management and talent of the company to optimize performance, and continue progress on the capacity and technology roadmap.

Manocha has more than 30 years of global expertise in operations, general management and manufacturing. He was previously executive VP of Worldwide Operations at Spansion.

Norling is the former chairman of Chartered and also served as interim CEO of that company in 2002. He was previously with Motorola from 1965 to 2000 holding various positions.

“Globalfoundries, with the continuous support of ATIC, is in the middle of an intense, competitive ramp-up of manufacturing capacity and technology development,” said Ajami, who will also remain CEO of ATIC. “Under this new leadership team, investment in Globalfoundries will double over the next 18 months.”

Through end of May 2011, ATIC had invested over US$6 billion to acquire the former manufacturing assets of AMD in Dresden, Germany, and the assets of Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing of Singapore, as well as an estimated US$1 billion to construct a new fabrication facility in upstate New York. Through the end of 2012, ATIC will invest another approximately US$6 billion in manufacturing capacity in Dresden, Singapore and New York with initial construction to begin in Abu Dhabi, Globalfoundries said in a statement.

AMD displaying next generation APU platform; adopts 28nm process in 2012 [June 16, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

AMD has displayed notebook models using its next-generation Trinity platform, based on Bulldozer at its Fusion Developer Summit (AFDS), and is set to launch the new platform in 2012 with enhanced performance and power consumption compared to its current Llano platform. The new platform’s parallel calculations are also estimated to perform 50% better, according to Rick Bergman, Senior Vice President and General Manager Products Group, AMD.

AMD’s APU product line is currently divided into several different segments:
G series CPUs, set to target embedded products;
C series CPUs designed for ultra-thin notebooks or tablet PCs;
Z series mainly targeting tablet PCs;
E series targeting ultra-thin notebooks or small form factor (SFF) desktop PCs; and
A series targeting mainstream notebooks, all-in-one PCs and desktop PCs.

Compared to Intel’s processors, Bergman believes AMD’s APU shares a similar concept as Intel’s Sandy Bridge, but Sandy Bridge is unable to provide parallel calculations as strong as AMD’s APU, and does not support the existing industry standards such as DirectX 11, Open GL 4.1 or OpenCL. In addition, Sandy Bridge is designed based on the application user interface of Windows Vista, while AMD’s APU is capable of fully supporting the application user interface of Windows 7, Bergman added.

As for the product design, Intel’s graphics technologies only account for a small proportion of the CPU product’s size, while AMD’s GPU design accounts for about 40% of the APU’s size. The company is even integrating a graphics solution with a performance level of discrete graphics chips to offer strong parallel calculations and Intel’s graphic solution, which is rather basic and simple, is not capable of competing against such advances, Bergman noted.

In addition, AMD’s Dual Graphics technology also allows its APU to coordinate with AMD’s discrete graphics cards to allow a graphics performance boost of 75%. With Intel’s graphics solution in Sandy Bridge, the integrated graphics is not used if an additional discrete graphics card is added to the platform, Berman pointed out.

The Trinity platform will still adopt 32nm process and AMD is set to launch Krishna with 28nm process in 2012, Bergman noted. Commenting on questions whether AMD will outsource its production to Globalfoundries or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Bergman only said that both firms will have the chance to produce the 28nm products for AMD.

Leaked Presentation Reveals AMD’s Fusion Strategy [May 27, 2011]

AMD APUs for 2012: 32nm Trinity, 28nm Krishna, 28nm Hondo. Not shown are 28nm Wichita, Weatherford and Richland

AMD Details Future Technical Roadmap for its Award Winning Fusion Architecture at Industry Developer Summit [June 14, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

AMD (NYSE: AMD) detailed to more than 700 developers and PC industry executives the roadmap for its Fusion System Architecture (FSA). The specific design features planned for future AMD products were presented in the opening keynote of the AMD Fusion Developer Summit. FSA describes AMD’s overarching design for having combinations of CPU and GPU processor cores operate as a unified processing engine that is both higher performance and much lower power than previous architectures. Many of the specific FSA enhancements discussed will be leveraged by newer programming languages, and interfaces like OpenCL™ and DirectCompute, making it easier for the software developer to fully exploit the unique capabilities of the AMD accelerated processing unit (APU).

“The first APUs from AMD dramatically increase processing performance while consuming less power and now we are building upon that achievement with our next generation of products” said Phil Rogers, AMD Corporate Fellow. “Future innovations are intended to make the different processor cores more transparent to programmers. They can then seamlessly tap into the gigaflops of power-efficient performance available on the APU and design even faster, more visually stunning applications on a wide range of form factors.”

Today’s APUs

Available since January of this year, AMD’s line-up of APUs are the first to integrate x86 CPU cores and DirectX™ 11-capable Radeon™ GPU cores on a single die and have been widely adopted by computing OEMs worldwide.  Being on the same chip reduces the system power and bill-of-materials, speeds the flow of data between the CPU and GPU through shared memory, and allows the GPU to function as both a graphics engine and an application accelerator in highly efficient compute platforms.

APUs of Tomorrow

Building on the success of the integration of CPU and GPU processing cores on the same chip, AMD is now focused on evolving the architecture to make it appear as a unified processing element to the software programmer.   That includes a number of evolutionary steps expected to continue through 2014 such as:

  • Support for C++ features that more fully leverage the GPU as a parallel processor
  • User-mode scheduling for lower latency task dispatch between CPUs and GPUs
  • Unified memory address space and fully coherent memory shared by the CPU and GPU so they operate seamlessly together

AMD also announced plans to publish a detailed specification on the features and functionality required to meet the requirements of the architecture.

Supporting Resources

  • A webcast replay of Phil Roger’s keynote will be available for 10 days
  • Access AMD’s Developer Central site for the latest tools and tutorials
  • Information on the AMD Fusion Family of APU processors

What’s next for AMD Fusion? [June 15, 2011] By Phil Rogers – Corporate Fellow at AMD (emphasis is mine)

What a year it has been already for AMD and its APU products – we have now announced top-to-bottom families of processors that support everything from low-power tablets to performance notebooks and desktops.   All of which integrate DirectX™ 11™-capable graphics with new “Bobcator 32nmStars” x86 CPU cores.   Bringing the GPU and the CPU together on a single chip was a critical step for AMD, and the resulting processors are finding a welcome home with OEMs and end-users.

We are just getting started.

At this week’s AMD Fusion Development Summit in Bellevue, Washington, I spoke to more than 600 attendees about where we plan to take the industry next with the AMD Fusion System Architecture (FSA).  The audience was primarily software developers, recognizing that they are critical to our success and that we want their participation during the development of the platform.  I have been developing 3D graphics and parallel computation software for more than 20 years, so I understand why total platform design is required to fully enable a programmer’s creativity and productivity.

In steering the architectural direction of FSA in my role as Corporate Fellow, my primary concern has been how to make heterogeneous (i.e., APU) programming easier, more natural and accessible to the largest possible community of software developers.

So what does that mean, really?  We aim to make the unprecedented parallel processing capability of the GPU on the APU as accessible to programmers as the CPU is today.  To do that there are a series of simplifying steps we plan to take that will improve on what is already a great foundation:

  • Add support for C++ features that more fully leverage the GPU as a parallel processor
  • Unify the memory address space shared by the CPU and GPU, and make it coherent, so they operate seamlessly together.
  • Add user mode scheduling, to dramatically reduce the time it takes for the CPU and GPU to dispatch work to each other.

There are others, but these are big ones, resulting in the biggest leap forward.  Once the AMD Fusion System Architecture is realized, the GPU is a true peer processor to the CPU, with direct access by software.

In the meantime, the benefits of the integration step are readily apparent:  dramatic improvements in battery life for AMD platforms; smaller form factors through reduction in the silicon footprint; acceleration of applications that leverage OpenCL and DirectCompute via the GPU, just to name a few.

I hope you will check back in to the AMD Fusion Blog from time-to-time to get updates on our progress!

A webcast replay of my keynote will be available for the next 10 days.

AMD Announces Thought Leaders from ARM and Microsoft to be Among Keynote Speakers at AMD Fusion Developer Summit [April 26, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced a distinguished line-up of keynote speakers as well as technical session topics for the inaugural AMD Fusion Developer Summit (AFDS), which will be held June 13-16, 2011 at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Washington.

Industry keynote presentations will be delivered by esteemed industry experts from AMD, ARM and Microsoft. In his keynote “Heterogeneous Parallelism at Microsoft” Herb Sutter, Microsoft principal architect of Native Languages, will showcase upcoming innovations to bring access to increasingly heterogeneous compute resources directly into the world’s most popular native languages.

Jem Davies, ARM fellow and vice president of Technology, Media Processing Division, will deliver a keynote about ARM’s long history of heterogeneous computing, its future strategy, and ARM’s support of standards, including OpenCL™.

The summit will open and close with AMD keynote presentations as well. AMD corporate fellow Phil Rogers will explore the programmer’s guide to Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), and Eric Demers, AMD corporate vice president and chief technology officer, Graphics, will deliver a keynote that chronicles the evolution of AMD’s graphics cores and discuss next-generation AMD graphics technology.

“The development experts we’ve chosen to share their work at AFDS are at the forefront of next-generation programming, and are working to harness the full processing power of heterogeneous computing technologies,” said  Manju Hegde, corporate vice president, AMD Fusion Experience Program. “The AMD Fusion Developer Summit is the best place for developers, academics and innovators to collaborate around parallel programming and industry standards, helping the developer community to realize the promise of the latest computing methodologies, today and into the future.”

Technical sessions, tutorials, hands-on labs and keynote presentations at AFDS will cover a range of topics including heterogeneous and high-performance computing (HPC), next-generation user interfaces, parallel programming tools and industry-standard application programming interfaces (APIs) such as OpenCL™, OpenGL™, Java and Microsoft DirectCompute. The Session Catalog for the AMD Fusion Developer Summit lists more than 90 in-depth technology sessions to be presented by industry and academic experts.

Speakers will be in attendance from a range of industry companies, universities and government organizations. Session topics include:

  • Developer Tools
  • Enterprise Computing
  • High-Performance Computing
  • Multimedia Processing
  • Professional Graphics and Visual Computing
  • Programming Models
  • Security
  • User Interface and Media Experiences

Developers interested in the latest heterogeneous computing tools and training can register for AFDS on the event website and take advantage of a special low registration fee of $300 this inaugural year.

Resources

AMD Demonstrates Llano APU [Oct 18, 2010]

AMD’s Chris Cloran demonstrates the Llano APU in Taipei at the 6th annual AMD Technical Forum and Exhibition. In the first public demonstration of Llano, Chris demonstrates simultaneous HD video playback, multi-threaded Pi calculation, and N-Body simulation utilizing the CPU and GPU cores.

AMD Ushers in Next Generation of Computing with AMD A-Series APUs [June 14, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced the next generation in mainstream consumer computing with the availability of the new high-performance AMD Fusion A-Series Accelerated Processing Units (APUs). Enabling truly immersive computing experiences in consumer notebooks and desktops, the AMD A-Series APUs enable brilliant HD graphics, supercomputer-like performance and over 10.5 hours of battery life2.

In an increasingly digital and visually oriented world, consumers are placing ever-higher priorities on multitasking, vivid graphics, lifelike games, lag-free videos, and ultimate multimedia performance. To meet these needs, the AMD A-Series APUs combine up to four x86 CPU cores with powerful DirectX®11-capable discrete-level graphics and up to 400 Radeon™ cores along with dedicated HD video processing on a single chip. AMD A-Series APUs also allow for advanced capabilities such as gestural interfaces, multi-monitor support, 3D entertainment and real-time image stabilization3.

“The AMD A-Series APU represents an inflection point for AMD and is perhaps the industry’s biggest architectural change since the invention of the microprocessor,” said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, AMD Products Group. “It heralds the arrival of brilliant all-new computing experiences, and enables unprecedented graphics and video performance in notebooks and PCs. Beginning today we are bringing discrete-class graphics to the mainstream.”

The AMD A-Series APUs (previously codenamed “Llano”) are currently shipping and scheduled to appear in more than 150 notebooks and desktops4 from leading OEMs throughout the second quarter of 2011 and beyond. Delivering powerful serial and parallel computing capabilities for HD video, 3D rendering and data-intensive workloads in a single-die processor, the AMD A-Series APUs offer software developers unprecedented power and potential in an ever smaller package.

AMD AllDay™ Power: Battery Life that Lasts

The AMD A-Series APU delivers the power to match how consumers actually use their PCs: all day – without sacrificing performance. Delivering more than 10.5 hours of resting battery life – a more than 50 percent increase compared to the 2010 AMD Mainstream Platform – users can get their work done or watch multiple HD movies on a single charge5. Additionally, AMD dynamic switchable graphics optimize battery life on PCs featuring AMD dual-graphics solutions by intelligently managing power states on the APU and separate discrete AMD Radeon™ GPU.

“The battery life of the AMD A-Series APU is a huge leap forward and will surprise many consumers and commercial customers,” said Chris Cloran, Vice President and General Manager, Client Division, AMD. “And the supercomputer-like performance will give people some revolutionary capabilities, like real-time image stabilization –taking out all the shakes and jitters in those hand-held videos on the fly, while you’re watching.”

Brilliant HD: Every Pixel Matters

People are making, sharing and enjoying more digital content than ever on their PCs, and the AMD VISION Engine – cutting-edge hardware and software featured with every AMD A-Series APU that automatically helps digital content like videos, games and photos look their best. HD video is crystal clear through dedicated video playback technology and dynamic post-processing, and websites render faster with accelerated HTML5 and Direct2D performance. Editing, transferring and viewing HD content is fast and easy with support for advanced connection standards, including HDMI 1.4a, DisplayPort 1.1, and USB 3.0, along with native support for multiple monitors.

Also introduced with the AMD A-Series APU is a new feature called AMD Steady Video6 designed to stabilize videos during playback – making unsteady, jumpy content look steady and smooth. The AMD A-Series APU can also enables advanced capabilities like gestural interfaces, 3D gaming and 3D Blu-ray video entertainment – features that are now key to consumer PC experiences and expectations.

Every PC built with an AMD A-Series APU delivers brilliant HD by offering discrete-class DirectX® 11-capable graphics – with models available at virtually every price point. Only AMD Fusion APUs offer true AMD Dual Graphics, with up to 75 percent graphics performance boost, when paired with an AMD Radeon™ discrete graphics card7.  This faster, higher-quality, more vivid and lifelike delivery makes consumers feel fully present in their digital world, especially when gaming.

Personal Supercomputing: Ultimate Performance

Consumers are doing more than ever before with their PCs – from work to play – and with the AMD A-Series APU, even their laptops can keep up, delivering  next generation  parallel processing.  With up to 400 gigaflops for notebook, and up to 500 gigaflops for desktops8, AMD A-Series APUs ensure users have the horsepower needed to handle the most demanding applications such as video and image processing, facial recognition, gesture recognition and multitasking scenarios. For the most challenging environments, AMD Fusion A-Series APUs offer AMD Turbo Core Technology, which dynamically optimizes and boosts CPU and GPU performance to power-efficient levels depending on the applications being run.

The Growing AMD Fusion Ecosystem

AMD has seen great momentum in the software developer community since the launch of AMD Fusion APUs in January 2011, with more than 50 leading applications now accelerated by the family of AMD Fusion APUs and advanced browsers like Internet Explorer 9 delivering even more immersive, next generation web experiences when running on an AMD Fusion APU-powered PC. And, the inaugural AMD Fusion Developer Summit, running now through June 16 in Seattle, Washington, is providing a forum for developers, academics and innovators to collaborate around parallel programming and industry standards, like OpenCL™, helping the software ecosystem build on the promise of the latest computing methodologies.

Supporting Resources

AMD Fusion APU Llano in a Multi-Tasking Technology Demonstration [Feb 28, 2011]

AMD’s Fusion APU code-named Llano handles high definition graphics and video with ease and excellent power efficiency. In this demonstration, The Llano APU goes head-to-head in visually intense workloads against a system based on Intel Core i7-2630QM based on the Sandy Bridge architecture. CPU –

Configurations Employed In Video Demo
APU – AMD Accelerated Quad-Core Processor [A8-3510MX later coming out @1.GHz and 45W] Engineering Sample
Chipset – AMD Fusion Controller Hub Engineering Sample
Video Driver – 8.830.0.0
Screen Size – 14 inch Diagonal
Screen Resolution – 1366 X 768
Memory – 4 Gb 1333 DDR3Ram
Hard Drive – C300 128Gb SSD
OS – Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

CPU – Intel® Core™ i7-2630QM 2.0Ghz
Graphics – Intel® HD 3000 Graphics
Chipset – Intel® 6 Series/C200 series chipset family
Video Driver – 8.15.10.2279
Screen Size – 14 inch Diagonal
Screen Resolution – 1366 X 768
Memory – 4 Gb 1333 DDR3Ram
Hard Drive – C300 128Gb SSD
OS – Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

AMD Platform Innovations with ‘Sabine’ [A-Series] [June 9, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

I recently attended an AMD event in Abu Dhabi, UAE where we held a briefing of our upcoming “Sabine” notebook platform featuring our new APU, codenamed “Llano.  In AMD parlance, “Llano” is the “big iron”, that is, processors designed for performance first.  After I delivered my presentation, I had a chance to speak with some of the press to gauge their feedback.  One universal theme was the great impression that we made with our platform innovations, features, features outside of the core x86, graphics, video and compute functions.  Here is a brief summary of the great steps forward we have made with the platform features of “Sabine”.

Power

Systems based on AMD technology have long been criticized for having a shorter battery life than systems based on competing technology.  This is no longer the case with “Sabine.”  Yes.  In fact, internal testing demonstrates our “Sabine” platform will yield as good or better battery life than our competitor’s current platforms.  In our labs we were able to exceed our expectations in terms of battery life using the Windows 7 idle test on the very same platform that we sampled to the press. This battery life performance handily surpasses a competing platform that was purchased at retail.

This will be a shocker to many people including the competition.  As with any significantly disruptive product, the “Llano” APU is transformational across many vectors.  As if the nearly 500 Gigaflops or Quad Core x86 combined with a Discrete Class DirectX 11-capable GPU wasn’t enough, Llano has exceeded expectations is reducing our idle power consumption and increasing our power efficiency.

AMD has become increasingly religious about lowering power consumption over the past few years.  When we designed the “Llano” APU, power was of primary importance in our design goals.  It would be very convenient if there was just one area that consumed excessive power; what we found however was that cumulative savings came from many contributing factors and our engineering teams fought for every last mW of those savings. In the end we delivered enough power savings to enable us boost battery life dramatically over our prior platforms! How long exactly? You’ll have to wait until we launch in June for that info. But trust me, it will be worth the wait.

Ironically, we have engineers in the company who work on delivering the best performance available for a 300 watt graphics card — and those same engineers fought for 50 mW on other products.  50 mW is 1 6000th of 300 watts!

Our course, it is not just idle power where AMD has innovated.  With modern graphics based workloads, we really show “Llano’s” mettle.  As the video below demonstrates, the “Llano” APU enables several hours of intensive graphics active platform use, while on battery power, surpassing the capability of the competitive platform. This is a testament to AMD’s decision to use an extremely efficient and powerful graphics processor.

USB 3.0 Integration

With our new “Sabine” platform, AMD is the first company to integrate USB 3.0 into its core logic.  Because of this, we’re enabling the following benefits of USB 3.0 over USB 2.0:

  • 10X bandwidth allowing up to 5 Gbps transfer rates
  • Full Duplex and Asynchronous operation
  • More power available through the ports

Translation:  USB 3.0 enables the use of 1080p cameras!  This means a new level of realism for video conferencing and other forms of tele-presence.  We have been working with our partner, Point Grey who have developed a very small USB 3.0 based camera which they call “Flea3”.  This camera can stream uncompressed 1080p60 video. As you can see in the linked video <link>, while an AMD system using Flea3 is able to request and process the same frames per second rate as the Intel system, it’s also able to display up to 4x the Hz— enabling a much sharper, jolt-free visual experience.  There are other benefits to integrating USB 3.0 as well, including the availability of 4 ports instead of the current 2 found in most discrete solutions today.

AMD has really transformed itself over the past 4 years as “Llano” gestated.  As we get closer to the launch, more details will continue to trickle out.  AMD is extremely excited to finally deliver the “Big Iron” APU.  Personally, I cannot wait until I can get hold of one to call my own.

The art of the possible with Unilimited Realities [June 14, 2011]

You know when you see something that makes you say “Wow”. That was my reaction when I saw the work that New Zealand-based Unlimited Realities was doing in the area of touch-based consumer applications. And now, I’m pleased to be able to talk about our collaboration on the next generation of their Fingertapps suite of apps.

What is unique about Unlimited Realities is that they combine the latest technologies, like graphics acceleration with DirectX 11, with new ways of interacting with your PC, like touch, to create applications that appeal to a broad consumer base. Things like touch-based musical instruments, family activity apps and multi-player touch enabled games.

At AMD’s Experience Brilliance launch of the AMD A-Series APUs in Seattle last night, we showed off some of the work that the teams have been doing over the past few months to demonstrate what is possible when you combine software and hardware innovation. The new apps take advantage of the unique capabilities in the AMD Fusion APUs to give you an amazing visual experience not possible on previous generations of processors.

The AMD APU-optimized versions of Fingertapps are expected to be available later this summer.

Flirtatious Francois: AMD Fusion [June 8, 2011]

AMD’s line-up of APUs are the first to integrate x86 CPU cores and DirectX™ 11-capable Radeon™ GPU cores on a single die.

AMD Unveils New Software Tools Designed to Accelerate the Development of Brilliant Computing Experiences [June 13, 2011]

AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced a new set of software development tools and solutions to enable developers to optimize their applications for OpenCL™ standards. These advanced tools create a foundation for software companies to realize the full potential of the AMD Fusion Family of Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), harnessing the combined compute power of AMD’s high-performance CPUs and GPUs across a wide array of heterogeneous computing platforms. As a result, developers can bring to life innovative experiences like HD video, 3D gaming, video conferencing and intuitive user interfaces, to truly differentiate their applications in the market.

“AMD is working closely with the developer community to make it easier to bring the benefits of heterogeneous computing to consumers, enabling next-generation system features like vivid video, supercomputer-like performance and enhanced battery life,” said Manju Hegde, corporate vice president, AMD Fusion Experience Program. “Our advanced developer tools and solutions enable a new era of parallel programming that’s based on industry standards and focused on delivering innovative user experiences that span a variety of computing form factors.”

Among the new offerings is the gDEBugger™ product, which was created by experts from AMD’s new Israeli research center, based on AMD’s acquisition of startup company Graphic Remedy in October 2010. gDEBugger is an advanced OpenCL and OpenGL debugger, profiler and memory analyzer. The new AMD gDEBugger release provides developers with the ability to debug OpenCL kernels, running on AMD GPUs, and step through their source code while examining kernel variables and data. This product, which is a plug-in designed to work with Microsoft Visual Studio®, includes all of gDEBugger’s previous features and capabilities.

Additional developer solutions include a Parallel Path Analyzer (PPA), Global Memory for Accelerators (GMAC) and Task Manager tools, which are being developed by Multicoreware in collaboration with AMD. These new tools and solutions, expected to be available in Beta during Q3 of this year, are designed to make OpenCL GPU development easier and more efficient.

  • Parallel Path Analyzer (PPA) is an advanced profiling tool for developing applications that optimize both GPU and CPU load. The PPA visualizes data transfers and kernel execution, identifies system-wide critical paths and locates data dependencies.
  • The Global Memory for Accelerators (GMAC) API provides a framework in which a developer can create applications leveraging the immense compute capabilities of OpenCL, but without the overhead of having to explicitly manage multiple data buffers across the separate address spaces of GPU and CPU.
  • The Task Manager API provides a framework for managing compute tasks in a heterogeneous multi-core environment. OpenCL kernels can be automatically scheduled to execute on an available and task-appropriate device, providing dynamic load balancing, optimizing use of available compute resources and removing the burden of explicit schedule handling.
  • The new tools expand AMD’s robust line of developer solutions that are publicly available on the AMD Developer Central website, including software development kits, libraries, compilers, webinars and educational support. In addition, developers will be able to learn more about AMD’s comprehensive set of software tools and solutions at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit taking place this week in Bellevue, Washington. Summit participants will be able to engage in interactive sessions and hands-on labs to deepen their knowledge of advanced CPU and GPU programmability.

Resources

AMD Launches Contest for Developers to Create Heterogeneous Compute Applications [June 15, 2011]

AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced the AMD OpenCL™ Coding Competition, being run by software development leader TopCoder. This contest is intended to encourage the creation of applications that take advantage of OpenCL™ as well as the award-winning AMD Fusion accelerated processing unit (APU) architecture. The OpenCL™ Coding Competition is open to software developers with great ideas, and up to $50,000 in prizes will be awarded to winning submissions.

“We’re at an inflection point in the computing industry with evolving chip architectures and the shift to common programming interfaces and industry standards, which enable developers to enable amazing new experiences,” said Manju Hegde, corporate vice president, AMD Fusion Experience Program. “The OpenCL Coding Competition is just the beginning of a new wave of application development by the software community as they embrace heterogeneous computing across multiple platforms.”

AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) technology (formerly ATI Stream) is a set of advanced hardware and software technologies that support OpenCL and enable highly parallel compute-capable GPUs to work in concert with a system’s CPU to accelerate applications beyond traditional x86 graphics and video processing. AMD Fusion APUs combine multi-core x86 technology with a discrete-level DirectX® 11-capable GPU in a single processor design, connected by a high speed link, to deliver up to 500 gigaflops of compute performance.1

Developers and students who choose to participate will be asked to submit an abstract that outlines how they plan to use the latest generation AMD APP software development kit (SDK) with OpenCL support to create an accelerated application for the AMD Fusion APU platforms.

Contestants can choose to create an application in any category including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Video Processing
  • Image Processing
  • Security
  • Human Computer Interface
  • Data Mining
  • Gaming
  • Physics processing
  • Social Networking / Communication
  • Other

“We see APU architecture continuing to be widely adopted for new computing designs, and believe that developers will want to build and optimize their applications around the high performance achieved with these new hardware platforms,” said Matt Murphy, TopCoder platform manager. “This technology shift signifies a sizeable opportunity for developers around the world who want to be early to embrace a new era of heterogeneous computing.”

In addition to the SDK, contestants will need the latest AMD Catalyst™ drivers that include the OpenCL runtime compiler. Released in May 2011, the latest AMD Catalyst drivers for Windows and Linux also bring new features, including expanded support for multi-display environments through AMD Eyefinity technology, which developers can leverage to create even more immersive experiences for end users.

For full details and a complete set of Official Rules for the AMD OpenCL™ Coding Competition, please visit http://community.topcoder.com/amdapp/

Resources

AMD and Academic Experts Collaborate with Morgan Kaufmann Publishers on OpenCL™ Book [June 15, 2011]

AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced its   collaboration on a new book for developers, Heterogeneous Computing with OpenCL, to be published by Morgan Kaufmann, an imprint of Elsevier Science & Technology Books. The book provides hands-on OpenCL™ experience and details multiple device architectures and application programming interfaces (APIs), from multi-core CPUs, GPUs and fully integrated Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) like AMD Fusion APU technology, to fundamental parallel algorithms.

“This book is just one more example of how AMD enables the university and the developer communities with information and tools they need to embrace OpenCL and other common platforms,” said Manju Hegde, corporate vice president, AMD Fusion Experience Program. “The continued adoption of OpenCL will significantly expand the possibilities for software vendors and developers leading to a wide array of innovative applications and new experiences that benefit from massively parallel processing. There is a resultant need for education and training of the university community which this book will meet.”

“We are seeing increasing demand for reference resources about common APIs,” said Todd Green, senior acquisitions editor of Morgan Kaufmann. “Application development across the PC, tablet and smartphone markets are red hot in terms of reader interest. We thank AMD and Northeastern University for shedding light on the common platforms and parallel computing movement; it’s a must-read book for every developer.”

The book was co-authored by several industry and academic leaders from AMD and Northeastern University, including:

  • Benedict Gaster, OpenCL architect, AMD
  • Lee Howes, member of technical staff, AMD
  • David R. Kaeli, director of the Northeastern University Computer Architecture Research Laboratory (NUCAR), co-leader of the Northeastern University Institute for Information Assurance (IIA) and associate dean of Undergraduate Programs in the College of Engineering at Northeastern University
  • Perhaad Mistry, Ph.D Student, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Northeastern University
  • Dana Schaa, Ph.D Student, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Northeastern University

Heterogeneous Computing with OpenCL is expected to be available in print and electronic formats in August 2011 from many major booksellers. The book provides detailed examples that illustrate the power and elegance of OpenCL to handle image processing, web plugins, random number generation, video processing and more.

Resources

Hardware and Software Leaders Fulfill Promise of Brilliant Experiences and New PC Capabilities with AMD A-Series APU Technology [June 14, 2011]

AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced growing support for the AMD Fusion Family of Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) with more than 50 leading applications now accelerated by AMD Fusion APUs. With today’s launch of the new AMD A-Series APUs, AMD unleashes unprecedented levels of performance in mobile and small form factors, with outstanding battery life. From software vendors and developers to motherboard suppliers, AMD’s APU ecosystem is basing hardware and software development on the new AMD A-Series APUs to help bring innovative new devices and applications to market. The APU is enabling new user experiences, for example, making video more life-like and enabling notebooks to achieve “supercomputer-like” performance.

“AMD’s APU architecture gives developers a new set of tools with which they can build exciting applications,” said Nathan Brookwood, research fellow at Insight 64. “Developers who best exploit these new capabilities will help position their organizations for dramatic success.”

“Our developer community is embracing the AMD Fusion APU platform with wonderful creativity and initiative,” said Manju Hegde, corporate vice president, AMD Fusion Experience Program. “We’re only at the beginning of a wave of innovation that’s powered by our APU technology. With forward thinking from leading software developers and device manufacturers, we are creating the next generation of computing experiences.”

New, Differentiated Applications

Dozens of today’s most popular software applications are accelerated by AMD APU technology, many of which are being showcased this week at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit in Bellevue, Washington. These applications span a wide range of PC and tablet user scenarios, including multimedia, gaming, productivity, web browsing, facial recognition, video conferencing and more.

Following is a sample of leading software and online content providers offering vivid computing experiences that are accelerated by AMD A-Series APUs:

“Our customers expect the ultimate viewing experience from their Storm media player,” said Tom Yang, chief technology officer, BaoFeng, Inc. “We optimized our application with AMD Fusion APU technology to continue to deliver outstanding performance. Now, hundreds of millions of users receive just that – clear, smooth and incredibly vivid video from BaoFeng, a leading high-definition media player company in China with 180M users.”

Industry-Leading Infrastructure Partners

AMD motherboard partners are also continuing to innovate around AMD Fusion APUs, as leading original design manufacturers (ODMs), including ASUS, ASRock, Biostar, ECS, Foxconn (Hong Hai Precision), Gigabyte, Jetway, MSI and Sapphire, are either shipping or have announced integrated APU/motherboard products featuring AMD Fusion technology.

AMD Vision Engine Software

AMD VISION Engine Software uniquely differentiates AMD APU-based PCs. This exclusive software suite includes the AMD software driver that controls graphics and display, the AMD Vision Engine Control Center, and an OpenCL driver. AMD Vision Engine offers graphics and video features enabling DirectX11 gaming, dynamic contrast, edge enhancement and vibrant colors to help videos and visuals look more life-like. This software set also includes AMD Steady Video, enabling advanced image post processing technology to help stabilize shaky images during real-time playback of streaming videos1.

Resources

AMD Celebrates Innovation with VISIONary of the Year Award Winners [June 14, 2011]

AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced the AMD OpenCL™ Coding Competition, being run by software development leader TopCoder. This contest is intended to encourage the creation of applications that take advantage of OpenCL™ as well as the award-winning AMD Fusion accelerated processing unit (APU) architecture. The OpenCL™ Coding Competition is open to software developers with great ideas, and up to $50,000 in prizes will be awarded to winning submissions.

“We’re at an inflection point in the computing industry with evolving chip architectures and the shift to common programming interfaces and industry standards, which enable developers to enable amazing new experiences,” said Manju Hegde, corporate vice president, AMD Fusion Experience Program. “The OpenCL Coding Competition is just the beginning of a new wave of application development by the software community as they embrace heterogeneous computing across multiple platforms.”

AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) technology (formerly ATI Stream) is a set of advanced hardware and software technologies that support OpenCL and enable highly parallel compute-capable GPUs to work in concert with a system’s CPU to accelerate applications beyond traditional x86 graphics and video processing. AMD Fusion APUs combine multi-core x86 technology with a discrete-level DirectX® 11-capable GPU in a single processor design, connected by a high speed link, to deliver up to 500 gigaflops of compute performance.1

Developers and students who choose to participate will be asked to submit an abstract that outlines how they plan to use the latest generation AMD APP software development kit (SDK) with OpenCL support to create an accelerated application for the AMD Fusion APU platforms.

Contestants can choose to create an application in any category including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Video Processing
  • Image Processing
  • Security
  • Human Computer Interface
  • Data Mining
  • Gaming
  • Physics processing
  • Social Networking / Communication
  • Other

“We see APU architecture continuing to be widely adopted for new computing designs, and believe that developers will want to build and optimize their applications around the high performance achieved with these new hardware platforms,” said Matt Murphy, TopCoder platform manager. “This technology shift signifies a sizeable opportunity for developers around the world who want to be early to embrace a new era of heterogeneous computing.”

In addition to the SDK, contestants will need the latest AMD Catalyst™ drivers that include the OpenCL runtime compiler. Released in May 2011, the latest AMD Catalyst drivers for Windows and Linux also bring new features, including expanded support for multi-display environments through AMD Eyefinity technology, which developers can leverage to create even more immersive experiences for end users.

For full details and a complete set of Official Rules for the AMD OpenCL™ Coding Competition, please visit http://community.topcoder.com/amdapp/

Resources

AMD and Leading Software Vendors Continue to Expand Offerings Optimized for OpenCL™ Standard  [June 8, 2011]

AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced increasing industry adoption of the OpenCL™ standard across a broad range of innovative software applications. As a long-standing proponent of industry standards, AMD works closely with leading software companies to help optimize their applications across common platforms, while accelerating these solutions with the latest technology offerings, including AMD Fusion Accelerated Processing Units (APUs).

“Software developers can benefit significantly from working with common programming interfaces to harness the outstanding performance of innovative, heterogeneous technology like AMD Fusion APUs across platforms,” said Manju Hegde, corporate vice president, AMD Fusion Experience Program. “The software industry continues to advance at breakneck speed with an ever increasing number of innovative applications that are coming to market, which are based on common platforms such as OpenCL, OpenGL and DirectCompute.”

As software developers embrace common application programming interfaces (APIs), the industry is seeing a groundswell of consumer and commercial applications built on the OpenCL standard, thanks to its inherent flexibility across platforms, operating systems and vendor hardware.

“Today’s creative professional needs a complete solution that delivers clear, crisp and stutter-free visuals that will allow them to edit, process and create content quickly and without interruption,” said Dave Chaimson, vice president of global marketing, Sony Creative Software. “New support has been added to Vegas Pro 10.0d for accelerated OpenCL based video rendering. We see this as a solid first step towards a faster production workflow for video professionals, and we are strongly committed to the OpenCL standard.”

HP Labs also is working with AMD to implement OpenCL acceleration of real-time imaging software for HP large-format, commercial and industrial printing solutions. “Innovative, leading-edge technology is key to providing the best possible support to HP’s commercial printing customers,” said I-Jong Lin, principal scientist, Print and Content Delivery, HP Corporate Research Laboratory. “The application of GPU acceleration in raster image processing has enabled a breakthrough in commercial printing solutions, and we anticipate replicating that success across market segments by porting our OpenPL library to OpenCL standards.”

Following is a sample of leading applications that already support OpenCL or will support it in the near future:

DVD/Media Players

  • ArcSoft, TotalMedia® Theatre – All-in-one video playback software
  • Corel WinDVD® – Blu-ray™ and DVD player software

Telepresence and Webcam Apps

  • ArcSoft, Webcam Companion® – Application bundle with HD and 3D support for web cameras
  • ViVu VuRoom – Multi-party desktop videoconferencing software
  • ViVu VuCast – Large-scale video webcast software

Video Creation/Editing Software

  • ArcSoft, ShowBiz® – Video editing software
  • Corel Digital Studio™ – integrated multimedia software suite
  • Corel VideoStudio® Pro – HD video-editing software
  • Cyberlink PowerDirector – Video editing software
  • Sony, Vegas Movie Studio HD – Home studio solutions for HD video editing
  • Sony, Vegas Pro – Professional solutions for HD video, audio and Blu-ray™ Disc creation

Video, Photo Effects, Imaging and Utilities

  • ArcSoft, Panorama Maker Pro – Photo and video stitch plus media manager
  • eyeon, Fusion® – Visual effects and compositing tool
  • HP Labs, “Every Page Is Different” raster image processing and giga-pixel real-time imaging for HP large-format, commercial and industrial printing solutions
  • Viewdle, Uploader® – Facial recognition software for photography formats
  • Viewdle, Video SDK – Facial recognition software kit for video development

Video Transcode Software

  • ArcSoft, MediaConverter – Multimedia file converter
  • Rovi, MainConcept® Transcoding Platform – Professional transcoding applications
  • Rovi, MainConcept® H.264/AVC OpenCL – Encoding Software Development Kit

Engineering Simulation Software

  • Altair Engineering, HyperWorks RADIOSS – Finite element analysis (FEA) solver for linear and non-linear simulations
  • Dassault Systemes, PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) – Simulation and CAD software
  • DEM Solutions, EDEM – Discrete element modeling software solutions for particle flow simulation
  • ESI Group, PAM-CRASH and PAM-STAMP 2G solvers – Digital simulation software for prototyping and manufacturing processes
  • MSC Software, MSC Nastran – General purpose finite element analysis solution
  • OPTIS, RTLab and VRLab – Real-time ray-tracing software solutions

A sampling of these applications will be demonstrated in the Experience Zone at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit to take place June 13-16 in Bellevue, Washington. Summit participants will be able to engage in interactive sessions and hands-on labs to deepen their knowledge of advanced CPU and GPU programmability, and gain a better understanding of how software applications can take full advantage of the parallel processing power of APUs, bringing supercomputer-like performance to everyday computing tasks.

Resources

AMD Fusion Accelerated Processing Units Win 2011 Best Choice of COMPUTEX TAIPEI Award [May 24, 2011]

MD (NYSE: AMD) is awarded today with the highest industry honor, “2011 Best Choice of Computex TAIPEI Award” for its Fusion Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) in the Computer & System category. The award is given by Taipei Computer Association, key player in IT industry and exhibition in Taiwan, and appraised by a panel of government representatives, academicians, research analysts, oversea media, editor-in-chiefs and industry experts.

AMD Fusion APUs offer a brand-new approach to processor design and better address users’ needs to handle more demanding workloads and visual computing in a small form factor device with long battery life. Only AMD Fusion APUs are engineered to deliver powerful CPU and GPU compute capabilities in a single-die processor for today’s HD video, 3D and data-intensive workloads for anyone looking for a richer visual computing experience whenever, wherever they want.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious award from the Taipei Computer Association, which is a manifestation of our efforts and excellence in AMD Fusion APUs,” said Andy Tseng, AMD Corporate Vice President and Taiwan General Manager. “AMD Fusion APUs are already widely recognized within the industry for being creative and innovative. This award proves the importance of listening to our customers and designing breakthrough products around their needs.”

Best Choice of COMPUTEX TAIPEI Award has recognized achievements in product design and technology innovation since 2002; it’s one of the important official events during COMPUTEX TAIPEI, the second largest ICT exhibition worldwide. Through reviews, the jury selected outstanding design and cutting-edge technology across 10 product categories.

AMD and other awarded products will be demonstrated at Best Choice Award Pavilion by Taipei Computer Association at the upcoming 2011 Computex Exhibition. In addition, AMD’s products showcase will be located at Booth# L0617 in the TWTC Nangang Exhibition Hall. For more information on AMD 2011 Computex, please visit our event portal.

For developers interested in learning more about APUs and heterogeneous computing, AMD will be holding its first AMD Fusion Developer Summit (AFDS) from June 13-16 in Bellevue, Washington. Summit participants will be able to engage in interactive sessions and hands-on labs to deepen their knowledge of advanced CPU and GPU programmability, and gain a better understanding of how software applications can take full advantage of the parallel processing power of APUs, bringing supercomputer-like performance to everyday computing tasks.

Additional Resources

AMD Fusion APU Receives “Best in Show” Award at Embedded Systems Conference [May 11, 2011]

AMD (NYSE: AMD) announced the AMD Embedded G-Series APU was named “Best in Show” for hardware at the Embedded Systems Conference by the industry analyst firm VDC Research, which has been presenting the Embeddy Awards at ESC for seven years running. The primary criteria for the hardware category are an enabling product that offers new innovation and new or significantly better functionality.

“We selected the AMD Embedded G-Series processor because it is an integrated circuit that combines a low-power CPU and a discrete-level GPU into a single embedded Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) for advanced graphics and multi-media integration,” said Richard Dean, program manager, VDC Research. “Among the benefits are the integration of the APU, which reduces the foot print size of a three-chip platform to two chips, and the overall reduction in costs across the product’s lifecycle.”

“Embedded Systems Conference showcases the best of the best in our industry and it’s very gratifying that a product we feel can change the dynamics of the industry has been recognized as the top hardware product this year,” said Buddy Broeker, director, Embedded Solutions, AMD. “The AMD Embedded G-Series platform represents a major advancement for the capabilities of embedded systems and yet still enables reduction of the key thresholds of power, area and costs. This is a trend that AMD expects to continue in the years to come.”

AMD is the only company in the industry today providing a complete roster of CPUs, chipsets, discrete GPUs, and APUs with the features and support to meet embedded system requirements.

Additional Resources

New AMD Embedded G-Series APUs Provide Thirty Nine Percent Power Reduction for Fanless Designs [May 23, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced immediate availability of two new AMD Embedded G-Series APUs (Accelerated Processing Units) with thermal design power (TDP) ratings of 5.5 and 6.4 watts, up to a 39 percent power savings compared to earlier versions1. The very low power consumption and small 361mm² package is ideal for compact, fanless embedded systems like digital signage, kiosks, mobile industrial devices and many of the new emerging industry-standard small form factors such as Qseven. This is an unprecedented low-power offering for the embedded market that features one or two low-power x86 “Bobcat” CPU cores and a discreet class DirectX® 11-capable GPU on a single die.

“We have seen many of our embedded customers deploy fanless systems even with our 15W TDP processors in the past. Today we take the ground-breaking AMD Fusion APU well below 7W TDP and shatter the accepted traditional threshold for across-the-board fanless enablement,” said Buddy Broeker, director, Embedded Solutions, AMD. “System designers can now unleash their creativity without being constrained by heat or size issues.”

A fanless solution is crucial for many small embedded systems where the added cost for an active cooling system can be prohibitive or for environments where silent operation is a key requirement. Additionally, many embedded products are deployed in harsh environmental conditions where the presence of a fan represents a potential failure point for the system. The AMD Embedded G-Series platform provides enterprise-class features and performance with the reliability, cost- and power-efficiencies these systems require.

Systems based on the new low power AMD Embedded G-Series platform include an industrial mobile device from Amtek, a Pico-ITX single board computer from Axiomtek, a Qseven form factor computer-on-module from datakamp, and a fanless digital signage platform from iBASE. Additional customers are expected to bring new products to market in the coming quarters.

Additional Resources:

Microsoft on five key technology areas and Windows 8 –UPDATED [Dec 15, 2012] with full content up to delivery and change of command

After this update there are three detailed sections in the post:

  1. Julie Larson-Green’s and her team journey to build the new Windows 8 and Windows Live experience and getting to the top of the whole product group
  2. The follow-up posts to the original May 2011 one
  3. The original May 2011 post, which described the five key technology areas for the Windows 8 journey which Microsoft earlier (in H2 CY2009]
    – identified to transform the industry over the next few years, and
    – was committed to investing and innovating and leading

    These were:

    1. Natural user interface
    2. Natural language
    3. HTML and JavaScript
    4. Chip and form factors
    5. The cloud

As the end-result of that effort we had delivery shown in Microsoft Windows 8 – Launch Event Keynote Highlights [HD] [BuildingWindows YouTube channel, Oct 28, 2012]

Steven Sinofsky, President, Windows from [0:01] to [1:42]; Julie Larson Green, Corporate Vice President, Windows Program Management and Michael Angiulo, Corporate Vice President, Windows Planning, Hardware & PC Ecosystem [1:49] to [4:28]; Steve Ballmer, CEO from [4:30] to [6:43].

Then came:
Steven Sinofsky, ex Microsoft: The victim of an extremely complex web of the “western world” high-tech interests [this same ‘Experiencing the Cloud’ blog, Nov 13-20, 2012]
resulting also in Julie Larson Green’s promotion to the top job of leading all Windows software and hardware engineering, and in her membership in the Senior Leadership Team of Microsoft.

All this during quite a turbulent year at Microsoft, with quite a lot at stake, as shown in:
2012: A Year of Microsoft Milestones [Microsoft YouTube channel, Dec 12, 2012]

From Windows 8 to Surface to ‘Halo 4,’ 2012 was a momentous year for Microsoft. See how Microsoft is building its devices and services foundation for the year to come.

Going into the detailed sections below (including the linked posts in the second section) you will be able to judge for yourself how much Microsoft would be able to transform the ICT industry over the next few years. All this is, certainly, in addition to your own experience with Windows 8 on a proper touch device. Your own experience should also last as long as from two days to two weeks depending on how deep you are involved in the old way of doing things with mouse and keyboard, as well your degree of resistance to change.


1. Julie Larson-Green’s and her team journey
to build the new Windows 8 and Windows Live experience
and getting to the top of the whole product group

Update: When she started the journey:
Interview with Julie Larson-Green about Office 2007 and Windows 7 [BryZad YouTube channel, Nov 21, 2009]

Her Microsoft Office achievement is well described in the description of her 2008 Outstanding Technical Leadership award:

In revamping the interface of Microsoft Office 2007, Larson-Green effected a paradigm shift in one of the company’s most successful products.
“At first, no one wanted to change Office dramatically,” says Julie Larson-Green, who was tasked with overseeing a reimagining of the product’s end-user interaction and overall experience in the fall of 2003. Larson-Green’s leadership of Microsoft Office 2007’s redesign, the most radical revamp in the product’s history, required immense courage and conviction, to which this award attests.
A specialist in user-interface design, Larson-Green began working with Office in 1997, when she program-managed FrontPage. She subsequently helmed UI design for Office XP and Office 2003, which had evolved into a large organization of carefully negotiated compromises among the application suite’s various programs. Although Office’s great success was based on customer familiarity, the Customer Experience Improvement Program was indicating that users, while basically happy with the product, were increasingly either unaware of (possibly redundant) functions among Office’s different programs or frustrated by the amount of training necessary to use an astonishingly complex set of commands, dialogs, and interaction modes.
After deciding that Office needed to be made easier to use, Larson-Green’s team arrived at the elegant solution of the browsable Ribbon (or Office Fluent user interface) and its contextual cousins that united the product’s common capabilities and ease of experimentation. “The breakthrough,” Larson-Green says, “arrived with contextualizing the user interface and realizing that all of the product’s features didn’t have to be present all the time.”
SELLING THE REDESIGN
As development of Office 2007 proceeded, Larson-Green was confronted with the equally formidable task of selling the redesign across Office’s various programs. “Our biggest challenge,” she says, “was convincing people that we had an idea that would work.” Heavily invested in the earlier version, the Word, Excel, Outlook, and other organizations were initially reluctant to relegate control to an umbrella design team. Even more significant, Larson-Green had decided not to compromise the integrity of Office 2007 with the safety net of a “classic mode.”
It’s difficult to change the direction of a large organization at the best of times. It’s even more difficult when the goal is still incomplete. Larson-Green’s ability to argue her vision without necessarily being able to address myriad objections in detail is a remarkable trait in a data-driven culture such as Microsoft’s. One by one, however, the suite’s principals bought into the design as it was being tested and fleshed out.
Office 2007 shipped to nearly universal critical acclaim in January 2007, and Larson-Green was promoted to corporate vice president of program management for the Windows Experience. As with Office 2007, she plans to identify and solve customer problems, which will in turn drive a new design and its subsequent engineering. “In the old world,” she notes, “coding would start and design would kind of evolve with the coding.”
COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS
Flattered by her nomination for the Outstanding Technical Leadership Award, Larson-Green admits to shock at winning. “I was very pleased,” she says, “but also kind of embarrassed. I may have been the ringleader, but I couldn’t have done it without a lot of help from a lot of people.” She cites principal Office User Experience Team Program Manager Jensen Harris, Product Design Manager Brad Weed, General Manager Dave Barthol, and Test Manager Sean Adridge as key collaborators.
As for the prize, Larson-Green will treat its dispensation as a family affair. “Unless we all agree on one, we’re going to split the award and each pick a charity,” she says. “My seven-year-old son has already decided he wants to do something with animals. My fifteen-year-old daughter wants to do something with children. And my economist husband is doing all the research on how much money goes to programs versus administration.”
View Larson-Green’s official press profile.

Update: When she delivered:
Windows 8 Launch Live Event Part 1 – 25/10/2012 [LiveSports TechNews YouTube channel, Oct 25, 2012]

Windows 8 Launch Live Event Part 2 – 25/10/2012 [LiveSports TechNews YouTube channel, Oct 25, 2012]

After that an Interview with Microsoft’s Windows Program head, Julie Larson-Green [VentureBeat YouTube channel, Oct 25, 2012]

 

Update: before the promotion on Nov 12, 2012 to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering, and becoming member of the Senior Leadership Team of Microsoft, her official corporate biography [Microsoft, Oct 25, 2012] was as follows:

As corporate vice president of program management for Windows at Microsoft Corp., Julie Larson-Green oversees the design and delivery of the Windows operating system. Leading a team of technical engineers, her responsibilities include program management, design research and development of all international releases for Windows 8.
Larson-Green joined Microsoft in 1993 and has focused on technical design and development throughout her career. As a program manager in Development Tools and Languages, she was instrumental in several releases of Visual C++ for 32-bit operating systems and led the development of Microsoft’s first customizable integrated development environment for Windows. Moving to the Windows team, she was responsible for the Internet Explorer 3.0 and Internet Explorer 4.0 user experiences, including features related to the Web-integrated Windows desktop.
Continuing her focus on end-user software, Larson-Green joined the Office team in 1997 and led program management for Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft FrontPage, including the early work in information worker servers. More recently, she has been responsible for leading the user interface design for Microsoft Office XP, Microsoft Office 2003 and the 2007 Microsoft Office system, which was lauded for its innovative reinvention of the user experience for productivity software. Before Windows 8, Larson-Green served as corporate vice president of Windows Experience for Windows 7, charged with leading the design and development of the Windows 7 OS.
Before joining Microsoft, Larson-Green was a senior development engineer at a Seattle-based company that created leading desktop publishing software. She has a master’s degree in software engineering from Seattle University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western Washington University. A native of Washington state, she lives there with her husband, who is a university professor, and her two children.

This time she had her earlier key collaborator, Jensen Harris again to lead the program management of the user experience. Watch Harris’ presentation about The Story of Windows 8 [keynote on the UX Week, Aug 21, 2012, published on vimeo on Oct 25, 2012] as it is extremely important to the whole story:

UX Week 2012 | Jensen Harris | The Story of Windows 8 from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

… [26:04] David Pierce said [in The Verge that] the Start Screen [of Windows 8] feels like a house made out of the Internet

The 5 Microsoft (previously Metro) design [style] principles he is talking about

  1. Do more with less, i.e. “fierce reductionism for every piece of UI”
  2. Authentically digital, i.e. “skeumorphism … removing decoration, ornamentation in a ‘Bauhaus‘ style … content over chrome … as in the [3d party] my History Digest application … icons reimagined as tiles”
  3. Pride in craftsmanship, i.e. “caring about every detail … getting details perfect … typographic grid underlying everything on the screen”
  4. Be fast and fluid, i.e. “… feel broadcast TV quality … as in the [3d party] Cocktail Flow application …”

  5. Win as one, i.e. “… have a product feel as designed by one person …”

With the goal of having one device for consumption and productivity

“New Microsoft led by principled design” as the result of all that 

About

Jensen Harris is Director of Program Management for the Windows User Experience Team.

He has worked at Microsoft since 1998. Prior to his current job, he was the Group Program Manager of the Microsoft Office User Experience Team, where his team redesigned the user interface for Office 2007 and Office 2010, adding the Ribbon, Live Preview, Backstage View, and other innovations.

Jensen attended Yale University and Interlochen Arts Academy, graduating with degrees in music composition.

For completeness some additional information from Jason Harris:
Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Product Demo [WindowsVideos YouTube channel, Feb 28, 2012]
Creating the Windows 8 user experience [Building Windows 8, May 19, 2012], highly recommended reading as gives all the background information, from Windows 1 released in 1985 upto Windows 8.
Windows 8 UI vision mockups from 2010 [a 3d party report from the UX Week video]
Jensen Harris: Windows 8′s lockscreen photos are design easter eggs [a 3d party report from the UX Week video]
8 traits of great Metro style apps [Channel 9 video of Jansen Harris’ Build2011 session, Sept 13, 2011]
Notes from BUILD – Day 1 – Big Picture Session 1 – Jensen Harris on 8 Traits of Great Metro Style Apps [Oct 6, 2011]
bldwin – 8 traits of great Metro style apps (notes in German about Jansen Harris’ Build2011 session) [Sept 13, 2011]
– regarding his earlier achievements see The Story of the Ribbon [Jensen Harris: An Office User Interface Blog, March 12, 2008] with video and slides embedded

And Jensen Harris had a team behind him as well. From that team Bonny Lau, Senior Program Manager, Windows User Experience Team had been the most active member. Here she is briefly talking (click to the link which follows) in a concise way about the same subject what Harris was talking about in great detail a year earlier:
8 traits of great Windows Store apps [Channel 9 video, Oct 18, 2012]

The 8 traits she is talking about:

  1. Microsoft design style
  2. Be fast and fluid (the Cocktail Fow 3d party app is shown again)
  3. Snap and scale beautifully
  4. Use the right contracts
  5. Invest in a great tile
  6. Feel connected and alive
  7. Roam to the cloud
  8. Embrace Microsoft design style principles

Her related materials:
Creating Metro style apps that stand out from the crowd [Windows 8 app developer blog, July 12, 2012] using the “Food with friends” application shown for Microsoft design style (in Jason Harris’ UX Week keynote as well to illustrate by him the Do more with less design style principle) as an example for development
Make great Windows Store apps (Windows) as her contribution to “Getting started” MSDN materials for developers
Designing UX for apps as contribution from her team to MSDN documentation with everything including samples to learn from
– earlier she was with Microsoft Project 2010 Scheduling Engine Project 2010: Bonny Lau [MSFTProject YouTube channel, Oct 28, 2009]

Finally here is a light talk of Bonny Lau about Windows 8 User Experience [MSUserCommunity YouTube channel, Sept 18, 2012]

Do design principles hinder innovation? Bonny Lau explains the reasoning behind theWindows 8user experience and urges developers to leverage design templates as a starting point (not an end point) for design, to push the envelope and build great looking apps.Learn how to make your app the best experience for your users at Generation App. Ready to Get Started? 1.Visit the Windows Developer Center for a myriad of sample, docs and guidelines: http://bit.ly/PwV3sE 2.Join the Generation App program and get a jumpstart building your Windows Store app. http://bit.ly/PwVi6R

Update: The Woman Charged With Making Windows 8 Succeed [MIT Technology Review, Dec 13, 2012]

In a Q&A, Julie Larson-Green explains why Microsoft felt it was necessary to rethink an operating system used by 1.2 billion people.

imageAs the head of Windows product development at Microsoft, Julie Larson-Green is responsible for a piece of software used by some 1.3 billion people worldwide. She’s also the person leading the campaign to introduce as many of those people as possible to Windows 8, the dramatic redesign of the iconic operating system that must succeed if Microsoft is to keep pace with a computing industry now shaped more by phones and tablets than desktop PCs.

Windows 8 throws out design features familiar to Windows users since 1995, swapping in simpler, bolder interfaces designed to be operated using a touch screen. The release of the Surface, a device somewhere between a tablet and laptop, also sees Microsoft break its tradition of leaving the building of hardware to other companies.

Larson-Green took over the role a few weeks ago, after Microsoft veteran Steven Sinofsky left amid rumors of personal disputes with other Microsoft executives. However, Larson-Green has long been a senior figure inside the Windows division and even took the lead on drawing up the first design brief for Windows 8. An expert in technical design, she also led the introduction of the novel, much copied “ribbon” interface for Microsoft Office, widely acknowledged as a major improvement in usability.

Larson-Green met last week with Tom Simonite at Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington.


Why was it necessary to make such broad changes in Windows 8?

When Windows was first created 25 years ago, the assumptions about the world and what computing could do and how people were going to use it were completely different. It was at a desk, with a monitor. Before Windows 8 the goal was to launch into a window, and then you put that window away and you got another one. But with Windows 8, all the different things that you might want to do are there at a glance with the Live Tiles. Instead of having to find many little rocks to look underneath, you see a kind of dashboard of everything that’s going on and everything you care about all at once. It puts you closer to what you’re trying to get done.

Windows 8 is clearly designed with touch in mind, and many new Windows 8 PCs have touch screens. Why is touch so important?

It’s a very natural way to interact. If you get a laptop with a touch screen, your brain clicks in and you just start touching what makes it faster for you. You’ll use the mouse and keyboard, but even on the regular desktop you’ll find yourself reaching up doing the things that are faster than moving the mouse and moving the mouse around. It’s not like using the mouse, which is more like puppeteering than direct manipulation.

In the future, are all PCs going to have touch screens?

For cost considerations there might always be some computers without touch, but I believe that the vast majority will. We’re seeing that the computers with touch are the fastest-selling right now. I can’t imagine a computer without touch anymore. Once you’ve experienced it, it’s really hard to go back.

Did you take that approach in Windows 8 as a response to the popularity of mobile devices running iOS and Android?

We started planning Windows 8 in June of 2009, before we shipped Windows 7, and the iPad was only a rumor at that point.

I only saw the iPad after we had this design ready to go. We were excited. A lot of things they were doing about mobile and touch were similar to what we’d been thinking. We [also] had differences. We wanted not just static icons on the desktop but Live Tiles to be a dashboard for your life; we wanted you to be able to do things in context and share across apps; we believed that multitasking is important and that people can do two things at one time.

Can touch coexist with a keyboard and mouse interface? Some people have said it doesn’t feel right to have both the newer, touch-centric elements and the old-style desktop in Windows 8.

It was a very definite choice to have both environments. A finger’s never going to replace the precision of a mouse. It’s always going to be easier to type on a keyboard than it is on glass. We didn’t want you to have to make a choice. Some people have said that it’s jarring, but over time we don’t hear that. It’s just getting used to something that’s different. Nothing was homogenous to start with, when you were in the browser it looked different than when you were in Excel.

I wonder if you’re experiencing a little déjà vu, after previously leading a radical change to the interface for Office that initially met with complaints.

Yes! A lot of it is familiar. Some people who review it for a shorter period of time may not feel how rich it really is. We’re going for the over time impression rather than the first 20 minutes out of the box. We’ve found that the more invested you were in the old way, the more difficult the transition is, which is unfortunate because we first hear about everything in the tech press. Those are the ones that we knew up front are going to have the most challenge.

How long does it take people to adjust?

Two days to two weeks is what we used to say in Office, and it’s similar in Windows 8. We do a “living with Windows” program where we watched people over a series of months in their household. A lot of people don’t have trouble upfront.

What data do you have on how people buying Windows 8 are reacting?

When you sign into your Windows PC, one of the things you get asked is whether you’ll be part of our customer experience improvement program, and if you will, then you’re sending some data to us. Everyone gets asked that. We get terabytes and terabytes of data every day, and we can’t possibly use it all. So far we’re seeing very encouraging things. Over 90 percent of customers, from our data, use the charms and find the start screen all in the first session. Even if you’re a desktop user, over time there’s a cutover point around six weeks where you start using the new things more than the things you’re familiar with.

Microsoft has chosen to make its own hardware for Windows 8 with the Surface tablets. Why not leave that to the equipment manufacturers, as you’ve done in the past?

It was a way to test our hypothesis of a new way of working. It takes time for individuals to adjust, but it also takes time for the industry to adjust to new things—all the complicated things about the supply chain and issues like what sizes of glass gets cut. Surface is our vision of what a stage for Windows 8 should look like, to help show consumers and the industry our point of view on what near perfect hardware would look like. We believe in Surface as a long-term product, but we know that partners will have other innovations and ideas. One of the things that’s always been nice about Windows is choice—you’re not locked into one size, one shape, one color, one version.

Your predecessor, Steven Sinofsky, was widely credited with driving Microsoft to create Windows 8 through sheer force of will. Is that true?

Steven is an amazing leader and an amazing brain and an amazing person, but one person can’t do everything. It’s really about the team that we created and the culture that we created for innovation.

What changes now that you’re in charge?

Not a whole lot. I’ve worked directly with Steven for seven years but known him for the whole 20 years I’ve been at Microsoft. We think a lot the same about what the role of Windows is in society, what computing looks like, and getting people on board with that point of view.

Now that Windows 8 has been released, what are you and your team doing now?

We didn’t really slow down. There are always new technologies to think about that can be helpful to people.

Read more about Microsoft’s efforts to track users’ reaction to Windows 8: Microsoft Has Been Watching and It Says You’re Getting Used to Windows 8.


2. The follow-up posts to the original May 2011 one


3. The original May 2011 post

Windows 8 on ARM expected to appear by the end of 2011 [DIGITIMES, May 24, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Tablet PCs that adopt Windows 8 and ARM-based processor are expected to appear by the end of 2011, but due to the platform lack of system performance, the platform will be mainly used for targeting the tablet PC market, according to sources from notebook players.

However, due to the combination still have several issues need to be resolved, most notebook players are taking a conservative attitude toward the new platform and will not rush to open up new projects for the related products.

Due to the Windows 8/ARM platform initially only testing in the tablet PC market, the sources believe the platform is unlikely to affect Intel’s position in the traditional PC segment, while the operating system is also unlikely to impact Google’s Android in the next one year.

Steve Ballmer: Microsoft Developer Forum [Microsoft, May 23, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

There is so much in the way of exciting innovations to look forward to over the next few years. At Microsoft, we’ve identified five things that we think will transform the industry over the next few years, and five areas where Microsoft, as a company, is committed to investing and innovating and leading. We think there will be other companies working in these areas. There are going to be opportunities for developers. Certainly we’re going to see a lot of competition. But these five key technology areas are the ones that I think more than anything else will make people look back and say, wow, computing is fundamentally simpler and easier to use, whether it’s on my phone, my PC, or my TV, than ever before.

The first one I’ll highlight for you is natural user interface. This is the notion that we really want to speak, wave and gesture, touch and mark on our computing devices. We want smart devices to work the way we work, to recognize us and our actions. Speech recognition, vision, handwriting recognition, touch interfaces, these are all part of the theme. And certainly whether it’s in phones, or what we’ve done with Kinect for large room, and living room type environments, for vision, and visual recognition are all emblems of the move in this direction.

The second big area of innovation will come in natural language. And the distinction is important. With natural user interface, we’re talking about voice, and vision, and touch. With natural language, we’re really asking ourselves the question, can we let you control your computing environment by expressing intent instead of specific commands. Today on a PC, it’s file open, blah, blah, blah, respond, reply, forward. I can’t just say to my device, get me ready for my trip to Tokyo.

The third area that I think will be increasingly important is HTML and JavaScript. We’ve made a big investment, obviously, in Windows and IE9 in our HTML and JavaScript support, but more and more of the world’s programmers will be fluent in these technologies in addition to whatever skills people have in C++ and C# and a variety of other important skills. But we have to recognize that more and more of the world’s talent will know these techniques. And whether it’s writing a website or a client application, or a server application, we want to build and develop the range of things that you can do not only using .NET, but also in using HTML and JavaScript. And, in fact, even how you can weave these things together into sensible programs in the future.

No. 4 is chip and form factors. Just think back three or four years ago and how quickly performance and size, and miniaturization and the move to ARM processors has happened. We’ve announced with Windows that we’re going to support system-on-a-chip architectures, not only from Intel and AMD, but also from a set of ARM vendors.

The form factor of the devices that we all use will continue to change. I think there will be a day in the future where it will be hard to distinguish a phone from a slate, from a PC. You literally will have displays that become paper thin and very easy to fold out form your phone. And at the same time, you’re going to get more and more PC-like capabilities in smaller form factor devices.

Last, but certainly not least is the cloud. And with both Azure, Windows Azure and SQL Azure, as well as Office 365, we’ve made a major step into the cloud. I’m sure I’ll get a few questions about Skype. Skype is just another representation of what we think is the importance of enabling a broad range of scenarios in the cloud. If those are the technologies, the flipside is to ask what can we do with them? They’re all great, but what will we, Microsoft, do and what do we expect the developers that we work with here in Japan, and across the world to do?

We’re obviously hard at work on the next version of Windows. Windows 7 PCs will sell over 350 million units this year. We’ve done a lot in Windows 7 to improve customer satisfaction. We have a brand new user interface. We’ve added touch, and ink, and speech. And yet, as we look forward to the next generation of Windows systems, which will come out next year, there’s a whole lot more coming. As we progress through the year, you ought to expect to hear a lot about Windows 8. Windows 8 slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors.

The browser is an area where we’ve been very active. Internet Explorer 9 is the fastest browser around because of the way that we’ve married it to Windows systems and allow essentially full exploitation of the hardware to have the fastest and most beautiful Web on the planet run on Windows systems.

We’ve integrated the browser into Windows more fully, so that you can put jumplists, and pin those to the taskbar on Windows. We’ve improved JavaScript performance. We’re running on downloads that are about five times the rate of customer acceptance that we saw on IE8, and when it comes to HTML and JavaScript, and the browser, there will be simply no one who pushes that, not Google, not Firefox, nobody will push that faster and harder than we push with IE.

Microsoft’s Ballmer says next-gen Windows systems due in 2012 [ZDNet, May 23, 2011]

During remarks at a developers conference in Japan on May 23, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer referred to the next version of Windows as “Windows 8.” He also said the next generation of Windows systems will be out next year.

To those not following Microsoft’s Windows saga closely, this may seem like a “so what” moment. But Microsoft execs have been studiously avoiding any references to the timing or naming of the next version of Windows to try to keep the specifics of the product as quiet as possible. Microsoft’s top brass has been avoiding calling the next version of Windows “Windows 8″ publicly, preferring instead to call it “Windows Next.” (Internally, a number of  Microsoft job postings and leaked slides have referenced “Windows 8,” however.”

Update: OK, believe it or not, the “official” response is Ballmer’s statement isn’t what it seems to be… Sent from a Microsoft spokesman earlier tonight:

““It appears there was a misstatement. We are eagerly awaiting the next generation of Windows 7 hardware that will be available in the coming fiscal year.  To date, we have yet to formally announce any timing or naming for the next version of Windows.”

And, as usual, there are many ways to interpret these remarks. Is the next-generation Windows release nothing but Windows 7 with new paint? Windows 8 not the final name for the next version of Windows? (The final name possibly being something other than Windows 8 is something that I’ve heard from my tipsters…) You be the judge….