My first Android device with a Nvidia Tegra processor was the Acer Iconia A500 tablet. This 10.1-inch tablet used a dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor clocked at 1.0 GHz backed up by 1 GB of RAM and was updated to run Android 3.2 Honeycomb in my hands (it later went on to run Android Ice Cream Sandwich). It was my first Android device with a dual core processor and I wasn’t always impressed with it: it turns out that the Tegra 2 had a weird graphical glitch that made the homescreens sluggish. The battery life was also something of a weakness but the A500’s battery was about the same size as the Nexus 6! Since the Nvidia Tegra 2’s debut, we’ve seen the processor used in a number of devices before being superseded by the Tegra 3, which saw service in the Nexus 7 (2012). The Tegra 3 has been superseded by the Tegra 4 and now the Tegra K1. They’ve maintained an element of exposure to the mobile processor since the Acer Iconia and today, Nvidia reported results and they’re pretty good.
The figures show solid growth: this quarter figures show an increase of 16% revenue year on year to $1.23 billion. The business also reported an increase of earnings per share, one of the many metrics used to evaluate a company. Nvidia’s president and chief executive said, “NVIDIA’s focus on creating visual computing platforms for datacenter, mobile and PC drove record revenue this quarter … high-performance computing, virtualization and web service providers have created demand for our GPU-accelerated datacenter platforms…” The accompanying statement went into considerable detail info the new products the business has released into the market and shows that Nvidia has seen strong growth of its system on chip Tegra business: 51% growth on sale revenue is a serious hike.
There are several reasons for this: the the HTC Nexus 9, Nvidia Shield tablets plus the Acer and HP Chromebooks that are all powered by the Tegra K1. Honda is to use Tegra powered in-car infotainment systems to boost the six million cars carrying Nvidia-based systems. The Nexus 9 is the first Android device that has a 64-bit processor and can use it; there are other devices based around a 64-bit capable processor but are running older, 32-bit only versions of Android. Nvidia’s powerful mobile processors have also seen service in the Project Tango tablet where the 192-core GPU architecture is put into service for the device’s unique spatial orientation functionality.
Nvidia is slowly carving itself out a place amongst the Qualcomms and MediaTeks of the world. I wonder how many other manufacturers are eyeing up the Tegra K1, especially the 64-bit version, now that it’s out in the wild?