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As Nvidia admits defeat on "mainstream" smartphones, company tries to redefine mobile

News by Andrew Kameka on Thursday May 22, 2014.

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Nvidia was once poised to become a major player in the mobile device industry. The introduction of its Tegra chipset and developer outreached ushered in a time of better gaming on Android and it was the processor of choice for the first dual-core devices and tablets released in the United States. Fast forward a few years to present day and Nvidia's name is rarely on a spec sheet for a smartphone. Though Qualcomm or Mediatek have become a more common presence on smartphones and tablets released today, Nvidia still sees room for itself in the mobile industry, just not on the products most commonly associated with it.

In an interview with CNET, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang admits that its Tegra processors have not been very successful in recent times when it comes to smartphones. However, he still sees room for Nvidia to be involved in mobile products. Huang states:

"One of the most important mobile devices is a phone, but mobile technology is revolutionizing [products] all over the place...It's going to revolutionize TVs. It's going to revolutionize, obviously, computers. But it's also going to revolutionize games and cars and all kinds of stuff. Our strategy is to go and focus our energy on segments of mobile where we can add the most value. The area where we can add the most value is visual computing, graphics, GPUs, etc."

Huang later goes on to say that smartphones "commodotized really, really fast" and Nvidia is not in the business to go after commodity phones. Nvidia simply can't compete with the costs of Mediatek in the low-end and Huang believes that Mediatek putting pressure on Qualcomm, Marvell, and Boardcom will continue because they are the lowest cost provider. For "mainstream" phone makers, price is too attractive to pass up.

Nvidia isn't leaving the smartphone industry enitrely, and Huang doesn't close the door on the possibility of a Tegra5i; however, his eagerness to shift the conversation is a clear sign that smartphones are not a priority for Nvidia. The company will instead focus its energy on gaming products like the Nvidia SHIELD, set-top boxes with a gaming component, and automobile systems like the Open Auto Alliance that Nvidia has already pledged to support. Though "mobile" is typically associated with smartphones, Huang is using the more broad definition to show other mobile markets that Nvidia can still target.

You can read the full transcript of Huang's talk with CNET, with more discussion of why Tegra failed and what the company has planned for the future, at the source link below.

source: CNET

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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