Chip giant Intel on Friday last week announced that it won’t support Linux on its upcoming Clover Trail Atom processor. The very same day, AMD announced that it is concentrating on supporting Windows 8 with its upcoming AMD Hondo processor, and that it would not support Android at this point in time. Unlike Intel, AMD stated however that engineers were working on Linux support.
One has to distinguish between the processor supporting an operating system and the manufacturer of the processor supporting the operating system. Technically, we are still talking about x86 chips which in theory allows Linux and Android operating systems to run on the x86 microprocessor family. So, theoretically a manufacturer could come along and create a Linux or Android device running AMD Hondo or Intel Clover Trail processors. But they would have to put considerably effort into the project, something that the majority may not won’t.
For Intel and AMD it could be a risky path, considering that both companies are betting big on the success of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system. While that’s almost a sure thing for the desktop and laptop market, it is not really clear how well the operating system will do on the tablet market.
While designed with touch in mind and shipping with a tablet-ready interface, Windows 8 marks Microsoft’s entry into the tablet world dominated by Apple’s iPad and to a lesser degree Android devices.
What about users who want a dual-booting system with Linux or Android? AMD Hondo may be the better choice at least where Linux is concerned, considering that Intel won’t support Linux officially and AMD is working on Linux support. For now though the best bet seems to wait and see what is happening after Windows 8 launches. Will the operating system be the success story that everyone believes’ it to be? Or will demand put a blow to expectations?