Nvidia Ditching Handsets, Aiming at Games and Automobiles in the Future

May 23, 2014 - Written By Jeremiah Nelson

CNET recently sat down for a chat with Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang and uncovered some interesting info. Nvidia is changing focus again. This time, they think the future is in gaming and in our cars. Smartphone OEMs didn’t take to Nvidia’s Tegra chipsets very well, and PC shipments are slowly dying out. Where is Nvidia headed?

Huang says that the company isn’t just looking at games and automobiles. They’re also targeting TVs, set top boxes, and other areas of mobile besides smartphones and tablets. They have already partnered Tesla, Audi, and Lamborghini to handle the processing for in-vehicle processing tasks like entertainment centers. The performance and over-heating issues that plagued the Tegra 4 and 4i haven’t seemed to stop these car manufacturers from teaming up with Nvidia. Huang wants to build on that relationship that they’ve started. He also was willing to accept that the Tegra 4i has failed as a commercial endeavor. It’s just isn’t selling like the company planned. He admitted that Nvidia couldn’t compete on price when smartphone’s shifted to what he called a “commodity market” in the last year or so. Huang said that Nividia’s goal is to target performance, computing, and game oriented devices, and not focus so much on mainstream products.

They are still in the mobile arena, though. Xiaomi’s MiPad tablet was recently announced, and it’s running on a Nvidia’s 64-bit Tegra K1 chipset. That Tegra K1 is supposed to be running under the hood of a lot of new devices to be released this year. It’s going to be in Microsoft’s upcoming Surface Mini, but Huang didn’t want to talk about the Surface products much.

Nvidia doesn’t have the best reputation among Android users or Android manufacturers. Performance issues, battery life problems, and overheating have left the company out of the good graces of many of us. Sometimes manufacturers couldn’t update devices to newer versions of Android because the Nvidia chips wouldn’t support it. Nvidia isn’t letting that stop them, though. They are doubling down on gaming units like the Nvidia Shield, and they hope to come back with a vengeance. We’ll see if they can do it.