Is this a reference to the steambox thingy? I though it had been officially debunked, or?
Not really. I was simply riffing on ways to increasing distribution and value through partnerships. I could have just as easily said "Comcast, EA, Nvidia". CableCard is one piece of tech which AMD likely acquired during the ATI acquisition, and Nvidia (to my knowledge) does not.
I've always believed that ATI/AMD could win the GPU wars tomorrow if they played their cards correctly and leveraged the full breadth of technology available to them. I also believe that it is likely AMD will likely lose due to mismanagement, missed opportunities, and lack of focus. It won't be due to poor engineering, it will be due to bad corp leadership.
Well, openpandora, beagleboard, and pandaboard is an expensive toys,
Well, last two are not "toys" but a development tools. After playing enough with them you can go further and design your very own piece of hardware similar to those. Be it some automation or module, etc. In fact it allows to design a range of computer-like devices. Now even small startup or even individual devs could design their very own devices comparable to tablets/phones/some kinds of computers on their own. In fact, just a few years ago, dev. kit for things like that had much higher prices. In fact, beagleboard could be considered fairly cheap when it comes to dev tools.
You see, in the world of electronics only things manufactured in millions are cheap. Everything else is not. And things manufactured in millions are usually not well suited for development. For example they tend to lack schematic, PCB layout files and other documentation. So you can't just modify PCB and re-manufacture changed version of device should you need/want to do so for any reason. Sure, not everyone needs this. But it allows development of many customized devices relatively easily.