It seems Qualcomm’s LTE integration in mobile chips caught most of the industry players off-guard, as it seems to be taking everyone else another year and a half to come up with a chip that has integrated LTE, compared to when Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 was launched.
Samsung said that Exynos 5 Octa will have LTE later this year (perhaps in Note 3), and Nvidia will only have LTE for Tegra 4i, also later this year, and a quarter later than expected, according to Nvidia’s CEO. Unfortunately, Tegra 4 itself won’t have it, and it could be because they never intended to put it in smartphones either.
“The LTE marketplace is growing faster than any transition that has happened in wireless,” Huang said during an investor presentation. “It was important for us to engage that marketplace as quickly as possible. … We decided we’d sacrifice the schedule of Tegra 4 by a quarter so we could pull in Tegra 4i by more than two. … That was a good decision.”
All of this, however, has reflected badly on Nvidia’s partnerships, as they’ve started losing important contracts, like the one for the next-generation Nexus 7. The original Nexus 7 meant a great deal to Nvidia, considering it helped sell 60% of the 10 million Tegra 3 chips they sold in total last year. So the contract for Nexus 7 was very important to Nvidia, but they lost it to Qualcomm, because Qualcomm has an integrated LTE mode, and their chips are also more power efficient.
Nvidia will be starved of mobile contracts this year, which is why their sales will be flat at best this year, but Nvidia’s CEO reassures us that Tegra is extremely important to Nvidia. It’s not just the mobile market, which they think will be the biggest market for them in the future anyway, but Tegra also represents the future for all their other markets, too, going forward.
“Tegra is an essential future of our company,” Huang said. “It is much much more than smartphones. It is everything in computing for us.”
He says that because starting with Tegra 6 (64 bit Denver CPU/Maxwell GPU), Tegra 5‘s successor, Nvidia will have a unified line of products, from smartphones to super computers. They’ll be able to use the same basic architecture for both CPU’s and GPU’s, and scale it up as much as they want. Tegra is the future for Nvidia.