Rumours hint at Android push for AMD's Fusion

Intel's assault on the smartphone market could leave the company fighting a battle on two fronts, against incumbent giant ARM and rival x86 specialist AMD, if a recent report proves accurate.

While AMD's Fusion product line, which combines the company's x86 processing cores with Radeon graphics, features a significantly lowered power draw compared to its traditional chips, they're still too hungry to be of use to smartphone and tablet vendors - despite some manufacturers placing specially selected C50 samples into tablet designs as a proof of concept.

During a briefing at CeBIT, an AMD spokesperson told thinq_ that it had no immediate plans to brings its Fusion product line to tablets and smartphones - despite rival Intel's intentions to take its own equivalent, the low-power Atom range, into exactly those markets.

A report from industry rumour-mill DigiTimes suggests that the company's plans in this area are flexible, however - and claims that AMD is in the process of adding staff specifically for creating Android drivers for its Fusion product line.

Such drivers would allow Google's Android mobile platform - which powers the vast majority of non-Apple tablets along with a massive and growing chunk of smartphones - to run on AMD's Fusion processors, suggesting that the company is thinking seriously about creating lower-power variants in the near future.

If true, that's bad news for Intel. The company's plans to encourage manufacturers to standardise on Intel x86 chips across desktop, server, and mobile platforms already faces a major battle against British chip giant ARM, which produces the designs that power the vast majority of tablets and smartphones in the market today. A fight against AMD would make its job significantly harder - and could sap valuable resources from the company's work in other areas.

AMD, for its part, has not confirmed the claims that it's looking to add Android talent to its development team. While the Android platform was originally developed for the ARM architecture, it was ported to x86 by Intel to encourage adoption of the Atom chips - a move which the company could come to regret if rival AMD gets a foothold in the market with Fusion.