AMD's 'Better by Design' to counter Centrino, vPro

AMD has taken a number of steps in response to Intel's "platformization" branding strategy, not least of which (obviously) is the purchase of ATI. We've seen the introduction of Turion "mobile technology" (err, microprocessors) to counter the CPU-chipset-networking trifecta of Centrino, and we've seen the AMD Live! brand emerge as an alternative to Viiv. AMD has already polished up Live! at this year's CES with some changes and extensions. Today, AMD announced a new branding initiative that looks to be a more direct shot at Intel's Centrino mobile and vPro corporate desktop platforms—and Viiv for consumer desktops, to some degree, as well.

The initiative, dubbed "Better by Design," is aimed at both laptops and low-end desktops that come with integrated graphics. In keeping with AMD's stated commitment to openness and partnership, or perhaps simply because the idea was hatched in advance of the ATI acquisition, Better by Design incorporates system components from multiple companies. The CPUs, of course, must be dual-core processors from AMD. The chipsets with integrated graphics can come from either AMD (via the former ATI) or Nvidia, and laptops will also need to have a wireless networking solution from Broadcom, Airgo, or Atheros.

As with Centrino and vPro, PCs compliant with the program's requirements will come with a Better by Design sticker on the front bezel or, in the case of laptops, the wrist pad area. Unlike Centrino and vPro, though, Better by Design will not be backed by a major advertising initiative from its creator. As usual, AMD claims it doesn't want to eclipse the brands offered by its partners, the PC makers.

Better by Design also doesn't signify any additional efforts on AMD's part to certify compatibility among components in a system. Instead, the company says it's simply wrapping a new brand around existing, robust efforts on this front. Similarly, Better by Design-compliant components are now on the market; current-generation parts from AMD and its partners already qualify for the new logo, and future products will be added as they arrive.

Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and other major PC makers have pledged support for Better by Design, and AMD says the brand will signal to consumers that PCs offered with its stamp will provide a smooth experience in Windows Vista. And now you know the story behind one more sticker that you have to peel off the wrist rest of your new laptop.

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