A rumor out of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) show has AMD licensing its Radeon GPU technology to rising Taiwanese mobile chip vendor MediaTek. If this happens, both sides would win because it would give AMD a new revenue stream and MediaTek would get a competitive GPU technology.
The news comes from Fudzilla, a semiconductor-oriented news site with an unfortunate choice of a name. Its editor said he picked up the rumor while at MWC in Barcelona.
It would be a return to mobile graphics for AMD. In 2009, it sold off its Imageon mobile graphics division to Qualcomm for $65 million, which Qualcomm rebranded as Adreno (an anagram of Radeon). Since that time, Adreno has become an important part of Qualcomm SoCs and AMD has been roundly criticized for selling off a division with potential for relatively little money.
However, AMD has been fighting for its life for the last several years and it could be the company didn't want to work on two separate GPU technologies. It may not be in any better shape six years later but at least it is focused on one graphics technology.
MediaTek is an up-and-comer that is gaining popularity with Chinese handset makers and is looking to take on Qualcomm. With the Radeon technology it would have a competitive GPU architecture to ARM Mali or Imagination Technologies GPUs.
The company could do with some better graphics, as it currently uses the Imagination Technologies PowerVR graphics series in its new chips. While Imagination has a high-end GPU, the PowerVR Series 6XT GXA6850 that is used in the iPhone 6, MediaTek has used lower-end GPUs.
It's certainly a logical deal for both sides. Now hopefully it's not a lot of FUD.