Toshiba to Roll Out AMD Turion-based Notebooks

A report from Reuters early this morning states that a Toshiba spokesperson stated it will end its exclusivity with Intel, with a deal that would deploy AMD processors in 20% of the company's laptop computers. The report cites Nikkei Business Daily as the source, but provides few details.

One detail which Reuters apparently corrected from an earlier report is that Toshiba plans to include AMD CPUs in mid-range laptops for both consumer and corporate markets in the US and Europe, not entry-level, value systems as has already been widely disseminated. We can assume this means Toshiba will be using AMD Turions, not mobile Semprons, or at least not yet.

Missing are some very pertinent details: First, we're not sure how soon these AMD-equipped systems would be made available. If they're in time for the back-to-school season here, it's a huge victory for AMD.

Second, is Toshiba committing to supporting AMD's forthcoming "Puma" laptop platform, which will incorporate ATI graphics technology plus chipset improvements?

Third, why not Canada if the US and Europe are included? Fourth, is Toshiba purchasing fewer chips from Intel, or just making more chassis to include AMD? The answer to the last question will help us determine how much faith Toshiba has in the growth of the notebook computer markets outside of Asia.

Believe it or not, AMD is as concerned about this as the rest of us. As of noon today, AMD's spokespeople were not briefed as to the details of the Toshiba announcement, and may have learned from it through Reuters rather than internally. BetaNews has been alerted that we'll receive the answers to these and other questions as soon as AMD gets them.

But in any event, the Toshiba win may be bigger news for AMD than even the Dell deal last year. Though Toshiba has lost a little bit of market share in recent months, it hasn't hemorrhaged the way Dell's share has.

At the end of 2006, Toshiba had slipped to the #4 position in iSuppli's ranking of notebook PC suppliers worldwide, at 10.4% with a resurgent Acer seizing third spot at 14.3%. Acer is already a major supplier of AMD-based notebooks. However, the Toshiba deal makes all five of the world's leading notebook suppliers, including #1 HP, #2 Dell, and #5 Lenovo non-exclusive to Intel for the first time.

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