NVIDIA Tegra 4i finally coming to phones next year, though US might miss out
We already don’t find ourselves talking about the NVIDIA Tegra 4 too much, as the SoC has failed to take off in any meaningful way with this year’s crop of smartphones. But for as little attention as the Tegra 4 has seen, the Tegra 4i has found itself getting even the shorter end of that stick; we haven’t mentioned the chip since March, when rumors suggested in might show up in the hardware that ultimately arrived as the Moto X. On its latest earnings call this week, NVIDIA talked a little about its plans to bring the 4i to prominence, and finally get it into some hardware early next year.
In case you don’t recall, the 4i is a slightly lower-end version of the Tegra 4, but with the important addition of an integrated LTE/HSPA+ baseband, which the regular Tegra 4 lacks.
NVIDIA says that devices featuring the 4i should launch in Q1 2014, and actually ship by Q2 at the latest. While the company does note that AT&T has already certified the chip for operation on its network in the States, it turns out that NVIDIA’s goals for the 4i are very much focused on markets abroad, instead. It’s clear that there are global plans for the 4i, but specifically avoiding the US market (so why did you have AT&T certify it in the first place?), with NVIDIA blaming the prominence of incompatible CDMA networks.
You could just not develop phones for Verizon or Sprint, but we don’t want to tell you how to do your job. In any case, the rest of you should see 4i-based phones start popping up in the first half of 2014.