AMD-optimized Android apps could be suffering chipmaker's post-PC cure

Today, Android virtualization company BlueStacks announced it has optimized its Android App Player for all existent and upcoming AMD GPUs and APUs under the name "AMD AppZone." AMD AppZone includes a Web-based Android app store, and the AMD AppZone Player for Windows 7 and Windows 8. This announcement highlights AMD's rather precarious position ahead of the launch of Windows 8.

Earlier in September, Citigroup analyst Glen Yeung downgraded Intel, AMD, and Nvidia on the basis that the consumer PC market has fully matured, and is no longer the growth segment it used to be, and that the real growth is in the "post-PC" businesses of mobile devices and cloud-based services.

But two of the companies in Yeung's downgrade are building their Android-based businesses with good results. Nvidia's various Tegra platforms power dozens of Android smartphones and tablets, including the popular Google Nexus 7. Intel, meanwhile, has run with its own build of Android, and recently broke the 2GHz clock speed barrier in smartphones with Motorola and Google's RAZR i.

Of the three companies Yeung cited, only AMD had remained entirely outside of the swelling Android realm.

Two months prior to Yeung's downgrade, AMD CEO Rory Read painted a dreary picture of the consumer PC market for investors, saying it was the first time since 2001 that client PC shipments were down sequentially for three quarters in a row, and had been beneath historical averages for almost two years straight.

"We also believe the PC industry may be resetting to a new baseline," Read said, reflecting on the fact that it might be a Jobsian "Post-PC" world, but the PC is not going away.

With that in mind, AMD is sticking to PCs, but giving them the ability to run the popular mobile apps that everybody loves.

"AMD and BlueStacks are making the emerging Android market part of the broader PC ecosystem with the introduction of AppZone," Manju Hegde, corporate vice president of Heterogeneous Applications and Developer Solutions at AMD said in a statement on Thursday.

The wise bit about this partnership is that it will give all new AMD-powered Windows 8 PCs a robust Android app store to counterbalance the Windows 8 app store in the event that it isn't quite up to consumer standards when it launches in October.

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