AMD expects its Hondo APU to infiltrate the tablet market. We won’t see the chip to pop up in devices running Google’s Android OS any time soon, though. AMD Vice President of ultra-low-power products Steve Belt told the Inquirer that the tablet-focused processor is designed with Windows 8 in mind. The market for Windows 8 tablets is purportedly large enough that AMD doesn’t feel the need to spread itself thinly covering multiple operating systems.
Hondo won’t be a Windows-only show, however. Belt leaves the door open for Android support "down the road," and he says AMD is working on Linux support already. Linux support would nicely contrast Hondo with Clover Trail, Intel’s next-gen Atom processor. At IDF last week, Intel revealed that Clover Trail won’t support Linux. The chip isn’t necessarily incapable of running the OS, but the Inq suspects the Linux kernel may not include the hooks required to take advantage of Clover Trail’s new power-saving mojo. Intel won’t be doing the software development work to add those hooks, and it’s unclear whether the open-source community could get the job done itself.
For the mobile systems Clover Trail targets, Linux support is largely inconsequential. Intel seems to be more interested in making sure its Atom processors are supported by the latest versions of Android. AMD may not be willing to engage on that front, but it appears keen on on extending Hondo’s reach beyond consumer products and into low-power servers. There, Linux support is rather important.
Update: Intel PR rep Kathy Gill let us know that multiple flavors of Clover Trail are in the works. While "the current version" is meant for Windows 8 tablets, "another version of this platform directed at Linux/Android" is in the cards. That’s all Intel is willing to say at the moment.