AMD's chip may add visual appeal to specialty tablets

AMD is targeting the new low-power G-series processor at specific tablets such as bedside monitors or portable store displays

Tablet devices designed for use in hospitals and stores could get better graphics through Advanced Micro Devices' latest low-power G-T16R embedded processor, which the company announced on Monday.

The processor can handle a new range of graphics-intensive applications on embedded products such as tablets used by doctors or sales personnel, AMD said in a statement. The processor draws an average of 2.3 watts, making it the most power-efficient embedded processor from AMD.

Applications in environments like hospitals and casinos are becoming ever more graphics-heavy, according to Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

The chip could also be used in specialty tablets that don't offer long battery life, but plug into larger displays, McGregor said. A tablet with AMD's new chip might be used in hospitals as a bedside device to access medical records, McGregor said. The chip can also help process medical scans that are graphics intensive.

The chip could also be used in casino slot machines, cash machines or as touchscreen displays in stores to advertise products.

AMD's primary competitor in the x86 embedded area is Intel, which reorganized its embedded product portfolio around the Atom E-series processors in 2008. But AMD is recognized as offering a better graphics processor than Intel. Companies like Freescale and Texas Instruments are also big players in the embedded markets, offering chips and microcontrollers based on ARM and PowerPC architectures for products ranging from cars to washing machines.

Embedded products have a longer life compared to PCs or tablets, so the processors aren't upgraded as quickly. AMD also said it is extending the availability of G-series products through 2017.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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