AMD sells hand-held division

January 21, 2009 | 12:58

Tags: #credit-crunch #gpu #low-power #opengl #opengl-es #opengl-es-20 #pda #smartphone

Companies: #amd #qualcomm

With AMD following Intel's lead in cutting prices for mainstream quad-core processors, the company has to find a way to make up the shortfall – and it's the hand-held graphics division which is going to have to pay.

According to Ars Technica's Jon Stokes, chip maker AMD is looking to boost its bottom line by ridding itself of some of the leftovers from its acquisition of ATI – specifically, the hand-held graphics division.

The Imageon-branded OpenGL ES 2.0 hardware the division created – designed for hand-held devices including portable games consoles, PDAs, and smartphones – was based around the Unified Shader Architecture that the company used in the Xbox 360's graphics hardware. While the Imageon technology brought some interesting innovations to the market, it's never been a money spinner for AMD with licensees proving few and far between.

In order to boost its bottom line ahead of a pricing war with rival Intel, the company has agreed to sell Imageon to telecommunications chip specialists Qualcomm for $65 million. An early licensee of the technology, Qualcomm will also be taking AMD's hand-held division employees to help it get the most from the platform.

AMD's chief operations, administrative, and financial officer – busy guy – Robert J. Rivet hopes that the move will allow AMD to “focus on our core business and leverage our unique position as a leader in both x86 computing and high-end graphics,” and believes that “the talented AMD Handheld employees will be a great asset to Qualcomm.

Do you believe that AMD might be making a mistake handing the hand-held crown jewels over to Qualcomm for a song, or are you hoping that the cash will help the company boost its offerings in the CPU and desktop graphics sectors? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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