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AMD Bolsters Its Mobile Strategy

Perhaps Dr. Ruiz and company should advertise it as "Turion... it's not your father's Core 2 Duo, and that is a good thing."
Perhaps Dr. Ruiz and company should advertise it as "Turion... it's not your father's Core 2 Duo, and that is a good thing."Give the Green team credit for revamping is Turion 64 mobile processors a week before Intel launches its Core micro-architecture chip "Santa Rosa" for its Centrino-branded products. The dual core processor announcements from both companies are timed to satiate OEMs who are preparing for the upcoming Back to School sales later this year.

But getting back to AMD... its launch event in San Francisco on Thursday came complete with demonstrations from partners and a lot of back slapping. Some of it came from the promise of a "tsunami of new products news" out of AMD's shareholder meeting.

Like all other Turion chips, AMD allows third-party partners to get in on the action. The package can come with an AMD in-house ATI Radeon or NVIDIA GeForce Go graphics processors and a choice of wireless chipsets from Atheros, Broadcom, Marvell, Qualcomm or RealTek. Broadcom made it a point of showing of its 802.11n (a draft wireless spec) as a differentiator.

The partner chipset strategy can be a real selling point for some OEMs like Dell or Hewlett-Packard who need customers to upgrade and customize.

The improved 3D graphics and video playback capabilities make Turion one of the few Windows "Vista ready" chips on the market. The others, of course, come from Intel and its Core and Core Duo designs.

So what does the Turion "Hawk" have that the previous ones didn't? Well, this one adds DDR2 800, an improvement over its "Taylor" and "Trinidad" designs. The company brags that the package saves about 25% more battery life. Also, the new Turion is made in Dresden, Germany at AMD's fab36 and it's based on AMD's X2 dual-core mobile technology with the same socket design.

AMD is working hard to keep all of its cylinders clicking at fab36. Its highly anticipated Opteron "Barcelona" quad-core for servers will be mass manufactured there as well. Both chips should help quell analysts' fears that AMD is struggling against Intel's marketing.

I doubt that AMD is prepared to spend $300 million like Intel did when it launched the Centrino brand initiative. Still, it's apparent AMD needs to sell more of these Turion chips than ever before. At least that is unless Hector's master plan is to take the company off the NYSE and into the arms of private equity firms.

Anyone want to place a bet on if and when that might happen?