Despite Tegra 3, 4 Tease, Will NVIDIA Make a Successful Mobile Push?
At a conference that the company had hosted yesterday, NVIDIA had announced that its Tegra 3 is near completion and Tegra 4 chipset development is underway, adding that new Tegra SoC should be coming out on an annual basis. However, for a company more closely aligned with graphics than mobile CPU and SoC development, NVIDIA’s problem isn’t about technology, but rather an issue with sales.
The company didn’t give any specs for its forthcoming chips, and so far there have been limited adoption of the Tegra 2 chips in consumer electronics devices; the Tegra chips have been adopted in the past by Microsoft on the Zune HD and the now discontinued KIN Windows Phone series. Most recently, LG has committed to utilizing NVIDIA’s Tegra chips in its Optimus lineup of smartphones, and it is speculated that Motorola may make the switch to NVIDIA in an upcoming product. HTC, which has thus far been committed to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips, may be using NVIDIA’s chip in a rumored tablet product if speculations hold true.
This presents a problem for NVIDIA, which is trying to break into the mobile chipset market. All these players are committed to a chip partner. Apple, for its part, is using its self-designed A4 chip; Samsung is reserving its Hummingbird chip for its Galaxy phones and tablets; and Research in Motion has traditionally used Marvell’s ARM-based designs in its BlackBerry smartphones. Motorola has been using OMAP chips based on ARM-design from Texas Instruments in its smartphone line up thus far, and HTC has solely relied upon Qualcomm in its phones. Even with strong specs from a Tegra 2 chipset, NVIDIA hasn’t been successful in getting its chips into prominent phones until LG has signed on.
Though Tegra 3 and Tegra 4 promises better performance than Tegra 2, and yearly upgrade cycles should continue innovation, NVIDIA’s sales team still has work cut out for them to convince manufacturing partners to adopt its technology.