New AMD mobile chips get vote of confidence

The three manufacturers last year shared more than half of the Japanese PC market. They will use the newest versions of the hot mobile chips in notebook models to be sold initially in Japan, according to an AMD spokesperson.

Compaq last week announced plans to offer a notebook with the Mobile Athlon 4 chip, which will challenge Intel's Pentium III mobile chip.

"This is good for them because AMD needed to re-establish themselves with these vendors," says Keven Krewell, senior analyst with MicroDesign Resources.

Krewell says the mobile Athlon 4 fills a gap in the AMD chip line and should match up well against Intel's Pentium III mobile processor and its Tualatin chip line. It also accelerates the mobile speed wars between the two leading chip makers. Intel and AMD are getting a nudge, especially in regard to Japanese notebook makers, from Transmeta's low-power Crusoe chip.

"This is a real solution. The mobile Athlon 4 fills a really nice niche," says Krewell.

AMD mobile chips spread in Japan

NEC will be first out of the starting gate with a notebook designed on the 1GHz mobile Athlon 4 chip with PowerNow technology, which is designed to extend system battery life up to 30 per cent. Sony and Fujitsu are designing systems based on the mobile Duron chip.

"We are very pleased these prestigious companies have chosen the mobile AMD Athlon 4 and mobile AMD Duron processors," Kazuo Sakai, president of AMD Japan, says in a statement. "With notebook PCs comprising approximately 50 per cent of the PC market in Japan, these key notebook systems establish AMD in both performance and value mobile computing."

NEC plans to use the 1GHz mobile Athlon 4 processor in its LaVie G notebook. An 800MHz mobile Duron processor will be offered in the LaVie G series, as well as the LaVie L series, which are expected to ship in Japan in May. NEC is already using AMD's 700MHz Duron in its LaVie U series.

Sony is working on a VAIO notebook for the Japanese consumer market that features a 700MHz mobile Duron processor. Sony says it expects to ship that system in May. Sony already offers US consumers a VAIO FX210 notebook with the mobile Duron processor.

Fujitsu plans to debut in Japan in May an FMV-BIBLO series notebook PC using an 800MHz mobile Duron processor.

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Frank Thorsberg

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