When AMD unveiled its tablet-optimized Z-60 APU earlier this month, it didn’t get specific about design wins but did claim the chip would show up in multiple systems by the time Windows 8 launched. Well, Windows 8 is officially upon us, and we’ve seen only one system based on the Z-60: Fujitsu’s Stylistic Q572, a business-oriented machine with a hefty price tag. More Z-60 tablets are coming, though—maybe a lot more. AMD marketing director John Taylor says six to 10 tablets based on the Z-60 are due out "in the year ahead."
This CIO article claimed Taylor said six to 19 Z-60 tablets were coming before the Consumer Electronics Show in January. That information is incorrect, according to Taylor, who we reached out to after publishing our initial story.
At least five more Hondo-based systems are on the way, and that’s good news for folks who want USB 3.0 on their tablets; the Z-60 is the only tablet platform with native support for the faster USB standard. It also sports a proper Serial ATA interface, which should allow for faster storage than the eMMC interfaces typical of tablet SoCs. Those two attributes, combined with the integrated Radeon, could make the Z-60 particularly appealing for convertible tablets that double as Windows 8 notebooks.
AMD is set to provide more details on its new "ambidextrous" strategy on Monday. I suspect we’ll hear about an ARM-based SoC with Radeon graphics, a chip that could dampen enthusiasm for the Z-60. Of course, any ARM-based processor is going to be limited to running Android or Windows RT. The Z-60’s x86-compatible cores work with the full version of Windows 8, which is considerably more appealing for convertible systems.