Advanced Micro Devices has begun works to make its hardware compatible with Google Android operating system. The company started to hire software engineers to develop Android drivers for AMD’s hardware. The job posting is one of the first material evidences that AMD is looking forward tablets based on its next-gen chips and Android.
AMD is currently looking for Android driver development engineers to help it evolve its Linux driver stack for new platforms and “in line with the development trends in the Android ecosystem”. In particular, AMD wants the candidate(s) to have experience with video decode acceleration within the Android web browser or video player application. Additionally, AMD is searching for an Android/MIPI driver architect, who will bring up driver development and qualification on new hardware platforms among other things.
The company wants programmers, who have experience not only with Linux in general and Android in particular, but who have experience with AMBA/Mipi/CSI/SPI device programming, including touchscreen controllers, GPS, compass/accelerometers, cellphone and cameras. The requirements clearly point to AMD’s intentions to optimize its drivers for media tablets like Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab and, possibly, smartphones.
In mid-March AMD confirmed in an interview with X-bit labs its interest to investigate Android operating system.
As we look onto open-standards market, the Android certainly makes a tremendous amount of sense. That is something we will be investigating as we take our Fusion architecture [into new markets] and we are able to create versions of this architecture for lower power environments that would work quite well for, perhaps, a tablet using this operating system," said Neal Robison, senior director of content and application support at AMD.
Although at present AMD has special-version of its first-generation Ontario accelerated processing unit with 5W thermal design power, the company’s offering, which will be tailored for tablets will only become available in 2012.
The second-generation APUs for ultra-thin notebooks, netbooks, tablets and other low-power devices - code-named Krishna and Wichita - will be made using a 28nm process technology, which will ensure considerably lower consumption of energy and dissipation of heat. As a result of that, AMD will position code-named Wichita APU for netbooks as well as tablets.
Specifications of Krishna and Wichita are unknown, but it is logical to expect Krishna to have two to four x86 Bobcat cores and Wichita to feature one or two low-power cores with reduced clock-speeds. Chekib Akrout, senior vice president of technology group at AMD, indicated during his keynote at AMD's financial analyst conference that 3W was a "sweet-spot" for tablets, hence, it may be expected that one or another version of Wichita will have power consumption of around that figure.