Nvidia’s Tegra 3 has been quite hyped on tech blogs before it got released and even afterwards. But that was a little shortlived until the dual core Qualcomm S4 processor, which stole a bit of thunder from Tegra 3, as it was achieving at least as much performance, but better battery life and comes with an integrated LTE modem.
But Nvidia is still very optimistic about its future, and says that we’ll see 28 new phones being powered by Tegra 3 by the end of the year, which is about double the amount it was last year with Tegra 2, when they only got 15 design wins. And that’s without the tablets that will arrive with it. Nvidia has just released announced their Kai platform, that will help manufacturers build $200 tablets with their quad core chip.
Now, does this mean Nvidia will make a lot of money this year? On smartphones, probably not, and that’s because it’s likely that those are noname phones, most of them at least. And when they say design wins they just mean different SKU’s, like how Galaxy S2 comes in around 10 different SKU’s all over the world, if not more.
The tablet story could be different, but only if they manage to be successful with that Kai project and if their customers, the manufacturers who are building those $200 tablets, will be successful. If they manage to sell many millions of such devices, Nvidia will win, because their chip costs about the same, whether it’s on a $500 tablet or a $200 one. I doubt they took that much of a discount for those customers.
Nvidia will need something like this to keep them relevant until Tegra 4 arrives, because they don’t have anything too exciting until then, and Tegra 4 might not appear until Q2 next year. The competition is already using next-gen architectures, like Qualcomm’s Krait, and soon Cortex A15 from Samsung and TI. These will steal all the buzz, so Nvidia needs to act fast and promote their chip heavily to their OEM customers.