Quad-core tablets powered by Nvidia's Tegra processor are coming this fall, with quad-core phones expected early next year, according to the company.
The quad-core Tegra, also known as Kal-El, is the first step in a three-pronged strategy to ensure Nvidia's next-generation chips are deployed in the widest possible range of mobile devices, said Nvidia Chief Executive Officer Jen-Hsun Huang. The new Tegra began sampling to gadget manufacturers earlier this summer.
Though Apple's iPad currently controls the lion's share of the global tablet market, Nvidia's dual-core Tegra chips are found in 70 percent of all non-Apple tablets, which Huang said collectively account for a 30 percent share of the market. "The number of tablets we have in the market [featuring Tegra chips] is 13 and growing every day," Huang told financial analysts Tuesday.
The second prong of Nvidia's strategy is to leverage its acquisition of Icera to include 3G/4G modems with its Tegra chips, while the third prong is to develop a chip specifically optimized for Windows 8, Huang told investors.
Nvidia acquired Icera in a $367 million deal that closed last June. Prior to the acquisition, Icera spent $500 million in the development of 3G/4G modems integrating software -defined radios.
"The investments that we are making right now are going to help open a billion-unit market, including PCs, tablets and mainstream smartphones," Huang said.
A Smartphone Superchip
Android is the mobile platform on which Nvidia's dual-core Tegra has been gaining the most traction. Last June, however, Nvidia began offering OEMs the two main processors used in all smartphones -- an applications processor and the baseband processor.
According to Nvidia Senior Vice President Phil Carmack, the combined offering of a Tegra chip with Icera's 3G/4G modem is expected to open up the $15 billion global market for baseband processors to Nvidia.
"Joining [Icera's 3G/4G modem] with our Tegra mobile superchip will result in a powerful combination," Carmack wrote in a blog. "In short, we can scale Icera's great innovation."
Among other things, Icera's programmable baseband processor architecture will enable Nvidia's OEM customers to innovate and adapt signaling algorithms in the rapidly evolving mobile telecommunications market, Carmack said. (continued...)