AMDs Live Comes to Notebooks

The chip maker will bring its consumer and multimedia platform to notebooks with a formal announcement at CES.

Advanced Micro Devices is about to bring its Live multimedia platform to notebooks.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., chip maker will launch its latest Live offering at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in mid-January. The PC makers that will begin to offer these AMDs Live platform in notebooks by late January.

AMD, which first introduced its Live platform at the 2006 CES show, is also set to introduce new additions for its home entertainment offering , including new products called Live Home Cinema and Live Home Media Server.

"We know that there are customers out there that want to get the most out of digital media with their PCs," said Aaron Feen, director of marketing and customer solution for the AMD Live line. "Its not only about the right processor, but having the right combination of graphics, memory and operating system to get the most out of your photos, music and movies."

Since announcing the creation of its Live platform a year ago, AMD has announced a number of partnerships with OEMs, software makers and broadcasters to help bring this offering to the digital home and meld these technologies for televisions and home theaters.

AMD, the worlds second-largest processor marker, is not alone in the race to offering consumers a multimedia, digital-home platform. Intel, AMDs chief rival in the chip market, has also introduced its own platform called Viiv.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about AMDs Athlon processors.

In the notebook realm, AMD is announcing a new partnership with Fujitsu-Siemens, Asus and MSI (Micro-Star International). These OEMs will now offer notebooks with AMD-based technology, which will include the Live Entertainment Suite, a series of free applications and services.

A spokesperson for AMD said that these Live-based notebooks will be available first in Europe and that other "leading" OEMs will offer Live notebooks soon. (AMD could not provide specific prices or comment on whether the other PC manufacturers would offer Live in notebooks.)

By working with these companies, AMD is looking to combine graphic and audio elements that are needed to meld broadcast and Internet content and build this platform directly onto PCs, special adaptors called set top boxes, and other hardware.

Included in these applications are Live Network Magic, a way for these laptops to securely connect to a network, Live Compress, which allows notebooks users to compress files such as television shows, to fit more onto the notebook, and Log Me In, which allows users better access to their multimedia files.

Notebooks that come with the AMD Live platform will require at least 1GB of memory and are recommended to use the dual-core Turion 64 X2 TL-60 processor. AMD will recommend Microsoft Windows Home Premium or Ultimate operating system, or the new Vista OS.

Some of these applications are already available on certain, high-end desktop models from companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Gateway and Acer, according to AMDs Web site.

Toni Duboise, a senior analyst at Current Analysis, based in La Jolla, Calif., said that AMD is to be admired for brining its multimedia platform to notebooks, but she expressed concern that top-tier OEMs, such as HP, had not signed up yet.

These OEMs might wait until the consumer version of Microsofts Windows Vista operating is released on Jan. 30, Duboise said. Like many other companies looking to mesh PC and home entertainment technology, AMD is still searching for the best combination.

"Right now, there are a lot of different solutions out there, and the problem is that the lack of technology is really holding up the penetration of the digital home by these companies," Duboise said. "I just dont know if anyone has got it right just yet."

AMD officials, however, will look to show that they have the right mix.

With its Live Home Cinema, AMD is looking to "use silicon to meet the needs of customers," said Feen. The home cinema offering is designed much like a set top box but uses PC technology, which allows users to control both audio and visual—television and cable—from one central location.

This product complements the Home Media Server, which will not only allow users to store media content in one location, but also allow that content to be "beamed" around to other screens—such as from a notebook to a television set—around the home.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about AMDs switch to 65-nanometer manufacturing.

The Home Media Server will work best with AMDs dual-core processors—the Athlon 64 X2 is recommended—since one core will be used to actually view the content, leaving the second core free to transmit images and audio from one screen to another.

So far, AMD is not revealing the names of the companies—OEMs, software providers or broadcast providers—that have agreed to support and work with both the Live Home Cinema or the Home Media Server.

AMD officials said they hope to announce those partnerships soon. In addition, specific prices for these various AMD Live products have not been set.

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