AMD has been moving for quite a while in the direction of “Fusion” chips or heterogeneous computing, and of course ARM has been even father ahead in this than both AMD and Intel with their “System on a Chip” designs. So then it makes some sense for AMD and ARM to join against their common rival, Intel, and establish a standards body that can help developers write the same code for both AMD and ARM chips.
But the HSA foundation is meant to do much more than just shorten the gap between AMD’s and ARM’s architectures. It wants to increase the performance of parallel computing, whether it’s superscalar chips with many cores, GPU’s, or other kind of specialized accelerators. It’s meant to make coding easier for devices from smartphones, to PC’s, to servers and supercomputers a lot easier, while also making parallel computing as effective as possible.
AMD and ARM have been working on this for at least a year, but we might not see the results of this alliance for quite a while. The other partners in this alliance are: Texas Instruments, Mediatek, Imagination, and even Samsung (although AMD’s blog mentions them, but the HSA site strangely doesn’t).
It’s hard to say what all of this means for Android right now, but the alliance from ARM and ARM chip makers, and AMD can only be a good thing. It should help Android become more efficient with multi-core processors, GPU computing, and parallel programming in general.