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AMD CEO: Expect tablet chip later

Chipmaker's CEO Dirk Meyer says his company will address the tablet market, but will take its time doing so. "The tablet is a disruption in the notebook market," he adds.

AMD President and CEO Dirk Meyer AMD

Advanced Micro Devices CEO Dirk Meyer said that his company will address the tablet market with a design that packs "great graphics," but isn't in any great hurry.

The discussion came during the chipmaker's conference call on third-quarter earnings, which the company reported today.

"I expect we're going to see tablets in various form factors and thicknesses over time. From everything we understand today, it's still a pretty new market," he said. Currently, by far the most popular tablet is Apple's iPad, which uses that company's A4 processor. Intel has targeted its Oak Trail Atom processor for the tablet market.

Meyer continued. "A tablet would optimally have power dissipation of two to three watts, which is a little more than half of what a fanless Netbook would tolerate. I expect customers will take components designed with Netbooks in mind and put them in tablets. And I think you'll see AMD solutions in tablets in the next couple of years for that reason."

Allocating significant research and development resources is a wait-and-see scenario, he said. "It's [a market] we'll devote significant R&D energy towards when the market is big enough to justify that investment. Frankly, we're still so small in the notebook market that it doesn't make sense for us to turn R&D dollar spending toward the tablet market yet. We'll start doing that when the market is big enough."

And what might an AMD tablet chip offer? "We'll show up with a differentiated offering with great graphics and video technology," Meyer said.

Speaking more generally about the tablet market, he said: "The tablet is a disruption in the notebook market. If you ask five people you'll get five different answers as to what degree there has been cannibalization by tablets of either Netbooks or notebooks. I think the answer is both."

He continued: "There's no question that the tablet phenomenon has been a source of volatility relative to any of our customer's ability to predict the market. But [we're] still looking at pretty healthy notebook growth."