Any of you holding your breath for the possibility of Advanced Micro Devices announcing its own version to Intel's atom processor for use in netbooks better have large lungs. AMD's Chief Executive Dirk Meyer announced Thursday: "We're ignoring the Netbook phenomenon--just thinking about PC form factors above that form factor." That is, AMD is focusing on bigger, and in their opinion, better things.
Instead of doing battle with Intel's atom processor, AMD is instead banking on the people wanting more power than that offered by netbooks, and has their sites locked on processors to run notebooks designed similar to the Macbook Air - the ultraportable category. As to the difference between an ultraportable and a netbook, an ultraportable is a full-fledged laptop, whereas netbooks are classified as notebooks under 11-12 inches, most using an atom or similar processor for low power consumption at the cost of decreased performance.
AMD's reasoning comes from their believed dissatisfaction with netbooks as recent reports show netbooks having high return rates compared to laptop sizes. "Customers are not satisfied with the experience on mini-notebooks," said Bahr Mahony, director of notebook marketing at AMD. This could come from a variety of possibilities. Most negative reviews center around the small screen real estate and tiny keyboards, but other psychological factors may play a part. While netbooks were never designed for graphics capabilities, the lack of graphics processing can leave users with a feeling of having an underpowered laptop, thus prompting them to return the netbook in search of more powerful alternatives.
A future AMD platform release, Yukon, which hopes to compete with the Intel's Atom, is set to release in Q1 of next year. One prospective processor in the Yukon line-up, codenamed Bobcat, is a slim processor with a power draw of less than 25 watts. Along with the Bobcat, AMD hopes to release a low-cost, low-power platform code-named Brazos which will be a dual-core system with the Bobcat architecture focused on increased battery life, and lower power consumption.