AMD Takes Aim at Intel Ultrabooks With Trinity Laptop-Tablet Hyrid

AMD Takes Aim at Intel Ultrabooks With Trinity Laptop-Tablet Hyrid
With Trinity, AMD hopes to undercut Intel's touchscreen ultrabooks on price
By Agam Shah
News Jun 6th 2012

Advanced Micro Devices showed off a Windows 8 tablet-laptop hybrid running on the company's A-series chips code-named Trinity, taking direct aim at Intel's effort to chase touchscreen ultrabooks running on Ivy Bridge processors.

The prototype device shown at the AMD press conference had a detachable touchscreen that could be used as a tablet when undocked from the laptop. This is a new form factor that AMD is targeting with the Trinity chips, said Lisa Su, senior vice president at AMD, during a company press conference at the Computex trade show in Taipei.

The hybrid device was a prototype made by Compal and was displayed on stage at the AMD press conference. AMD's A-series chips, which were announced in May, are aimed at thin-and-light laptops starting at US$599 and compete with Intel's chips used in ultrabooks, which roughly start at $750. 

Tablet-laptop hybrids have appeared at the Computex trade show this year, with Asus and Acer showing off Windows 8 laptops with detachable touchscreens based on Intel's Core processors code-named Ivy Bridge. No PC maker has yet announced a tablet-laptop hybrid based on AMD's Trinity chips, but Su said the company is working with device makers to address new form factors.

The Compal prototype shows AMD's desire to keep up the competition with Intel, which has said that 30 touchscreen ultrabooks with Ivy Bridge processors would be released by the end of the year. AMD historically has had a price advantage over Intel, and new lower-priced touchscreen hybrids with AMD's Trinity could upset Intel's Ivy Bridge momentum.

Customers can potentially take the Compal reference design and offer touch tablet-laptop hybrids with AMD's Trinity chips at a lower price than similar Intel's Ivy Bridge designs, said an AMD spokesman after the press conference. AMD has a price advantage and its chip packages are typically less expensive than comparable chips from Intel.

Compal laptop-tablet hybrid prototype with AMD's Trinity chip

A possible use for the prototype Compal model is gaming, as AMD's on-chip graphics performance is superior than the graphics on Ivy Bridge, the spokesman said.

AMD has already said it will release low-power tablet chips code-named Hondo later this year. Targeting Trinity chips at touchscreen laptops provides AMD a wider opportunity to expand its presence in the fast-growing tablet market.