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AMD changes tack on developing-world PC

Wants to sell chips, not finished systems

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AMD isn't quitting the low-cost, developing world-oriented PC arena after all - it's simply changing its business model, the company has claimed. Instead of manufacturing a box - such as the Personal Internet Communicator, aka 'Emma', it canned earlier this month - it will devise reference platforms system builders can use as a foundation for their own products.

So said AMD's Chief Innovation Officer, Billy Edwards, in an interview with EETimes published this week. "We will make reference designs and work with OEMs and ODMs, but we will not do an end product," he said.

"We are going back to our core competency of selling chips."

The scheme makes sense, allowing AMD to focus on the core technology while its system builder partners with better local knowledge tailor finished boxes for specific markets. Edwards indicated a range of reference designs would be produced, all based on AMD's Geode line of low-power x86-compatible CPUs. Some designs will focus on low-cost systems, others to offer more processing power, each aimed at different usage models.

Edwards said the reference designs will not tie in with Microsoft's FlexGo initiative, the software giant's own attempt to devise a PC for the developing world and a business model - bank-subisidised sales - to get the machines into users' hands. However, he said the two platforms will "eventually" merge.

In June, AMD said it was licensing Transmeta's FlexGo-friendly Efficeon processor to pitch to OEMs keen to make FlexGo machines. ®

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