AMD: Remember you are a technology company!

AMD seems to have lost itself somewhere along the way.  I have owned several AMD-based systems over the years starting with a 386 clone to an Athlon several years ago.   Having a deep love for all things hardware and software, I like to know what the technical specifications of just about anything I read about.  The type of hardware doesn’t matter, be it a hard drive, case, power supply or processor; it’s all good to me.  That is why I need to convey my deep disappointment about AMD.

I saw a new laptop on Newegg‘s web site and was intrigued to see a processor I have never seen before.  The processor is a mobile Phenom II quad-core and the machine looks like a upper-middle end machine except I know nothing about the processor.  I assumed that going to the AMD web site would yield all kinds of information about the processor.  I was utterly flabbergasted to see it not on the list of mobile processors from the home page.  I then searched the web site for the phrase “mobile Phenom” with odd results, the first two links had the processor named but no link to any technical documentation just all kinds of marketing.  The third link took me to a page listing all the classifications for the processors with “AMD Notebook Platform for Home” and “AMD Notebook Platform for Work” listed but when I clicked on those I get more of what I found in the initial search, marketing material.  Then I saw on the far right, a link to “Compare Processors” with notebook processors listed and there is a compare page.  I select the first “AMD Phenom™ II Quad-Core Mobile Processors” option and there are two processors I clicked on the P620 and no luck.  Just the basic technical facts about the design and manufacturing of the processor.  Don’t they think we want to know about the power management features, the memory controller, the memory type is uses, etc?  Twenty minutes and nothing to show for it.

I gave up at this point and looked for more detail outside of the AMD site and was disappointed again.  Another five minutes lead me to all kinds of speculation on performance because AMD has no material to say how the processor performs relative to the old line of mobile processors or even compared to the desktop version.

How can I buy a machine when I know virtually nothing about the processor?

AMD, I know I am just one guy but here are your action items:

  • Make the specifications of your processors easier to find and available to search engines.  I hate to point out that your direct competitor makes 90% of the specifications very easy to find.  Do the same.
  • Make a detailed specifications page with all of the details including architecture, bus configuration and any other real selling points for a technology geek.  If your marketing department is feeling a little left out, then include links to the marketing materials for the pseudo-techs or non-techs.
  • If it makes sense, have a technology oriented version of your site where people like me can find the dirty details like relative performance and technology factors to make educated decisions on the validity of the processor as the platform for a tech-geek.

You may just sell more of your product if more information is available.

iPad Second Impressions

The iPad has been released with all the fanfare of a king arriving home from a great battle.  iTunes has been updated to support the new applications. New applications specifically designed to support the iPad are well underway.  Now all of us skeptics can be silenced, or not.

I realized the cleaver plan of Apple a few hours after the release.  I have thought hard why anyone would want a larger iPhone other than it’s a gadget of bigger proportions.  The reason became clear when a read a blog post of an eBook reader that was very pleased with the iPad and it’s screen, form factor and overall size and weight.  Weeks ago I read that school books were to be available for the iPad.  Then I put it together, the iPad is the perfect medium for a student to carry a single lightweight device rather than a bunch of heavy books.   The school system doesn’t have to carry as many books (maybe none in the future) and the students only have to carry a gadget to their classes, brilliant.

I am sure there are people out there that are saying “Why does it have to a tablet, why not a netbook or Macbook or the like.”  The problem with a PC, Mac or Linux machine is the potential for data loss.  The iPad only has the data that has been synced with a computer so if it gets fried, dropped, drowned or just fails, the data is still on the computer.

I officially rescind my previous skeptical post and say the iPad is a gadget worth getting.

Apple iPad First Impressions

The announcement of the Apple iPad has left me a little unimpressed.  I have watched Apple release all kinds of technology over the years.  While many of the Apple products over the years have not been technological marvels, they have released products that were well thought out from a hardware perspective as well as a software perspective.  For example, the iPod would never have become as popular if iTunes was not the song management software included with it.

The iPad seems to be a year or two too late for the market.

Does it make a good e-book reader?  It seems as if the market for the portable e-book reader came of age when the Kindle hit the market and has been followed by many other readers geared toward the reader of e-books.  I doubt Apple has truly targeted the iPad as an e-book reader exclusively.

Does it make a good connected device?  The netbook market is full of computers capable of surfing and some include 3G.  Some are running Windows others Linux and sometime soon Chrome OS.  One of the odd things about the iPad is the requirement for it to be connected to a computer (Mac or PC) in order to synchronize it’s data.  While not a bad idea considering a drop could be fatal, it does lead to the next question.

Does it make a good computer?  In a world where just about everything is a computer, I would say the iPad does not make a good computer.  One cannot install Mac programs like Garage Band or any of the other software that would be perfect to take on the road.   No dice.  The iTunes store is the location to get software for the device just like an iPod or iPhone and while this has proven to be a good medium for applications it begs the question of cost.  I would have to buy another program like Garage Band for the iPad.

Like the rest of the world, I have not played with the iPad and I have not worked with it to any extent.  I very much hope it is a good device but I am very skeptical.