Advanced Micro Devices partners are expected to announce the first PCs based on the AMD Live! entertainment platform on May 31, the day that AMD will begin to make available a number of specialized, free applications to improve the multimedia experience on Live! PCs.
Initially, Live! PCs will be not much more than existing computers designed around the Athlon64 X2 microprocessors that AMD manufactures. Over time, however, OEMs including Acer, Alienware, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, Sahara and Tsinghua Tongfang will preload the five new AMD Live! Entertainment Suite applications, which AMD plans to add to over time to build out the new Live! platform.
The new Live! Entertainment Suite will rebrand existing third-party applications, tie them into the AMD brand name and offer them to consumers for free. AMD is also considering whether to capitalize on any brand equity the new applications earn by pushing consumers toward a future Live!-branded portal, AMD executives said.
Both AMD and its rival, Intel, began to embrace the concept of the PC as a consumer device in 2004. In 2005, Intel announced its consumer Viiv brand. While AMD waited until this past January to unveil its AMD Live! strategy, the companys only announcement to date has been the hardware specifications underpinning Live!. But what Viiv and Live! are, and what they will mean for consumers, is just now becoming clear.
Like Apple, Tivo, or a host of other consumer electronics manufacturers, AMD and Intel hope its chips will form the foundations of the home entertainment device or media server upon which digital photos, music and video will reside.
The difference between the two companies, however, lies in the attitudes toward digital content: Intels Viiv program has tied itself to premium content, including first-run movies that are only available from online video rental agencies. AMD, on the other hand, has initially designed Live! with user-owned, DRM-free content in mind.