It seems oddly strange timing, NVIDIA’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has announced the company’s plans to take a step back from developing technology specifically for the mainstream tablet and smartphone markets. NVIDIA is currently preparing their next-gen Tegra K1 chip. It’s extremely powerful and recently destroyed the competition by a wide margin in some artificial benchmarks.
This is why NVIDIA’s move seems a bit puzzling at first. After reading Huang’s perspective on the subject, it seems a bit more sensible. NVIDIA has realized their higher-end technology isn’t meant to compete with the menagerie of mediocre mobile models available. While NVIDIA was striving to take on their biggest rival, Qualcomm, the smaller MediaTek was swooping in to dominate in the low-end markets. This was basically rushing NVIDIA from two sides.
To be clear, NVIDIA is not at all abandoning mobile. On the contrary, they are instead refocusing their efforts on future tech and on markets they have always been good it. That is automotive mobile and mobile gaming respectively. Huang indicated he does not want NVIDIA’s flagship Tegra brand conforming to inferior standards. NVIDIA sees the Tegra as a powerful line which should not have its standards sacrificed in the name of more efficient chipsets. In other words, NVIDIA wants to be the Lamborghini or Ferrari of mobile chipsets, instead of catering to mass production markets eventually relegating the Tegra line to that of a value sedan.
In retrospect, this move makes a great deal of sense. NVIDIA has always been one of the two big titans in the gaming world. They are experts at fighting in that market. Of course, the mobile auto industry is new, but if NVIDIA can get there first, they can get a leg up on the rest of the mobile industry while their competitors’ focus on smartphones and tablets.
It sounds like NVIDIA will still have chipsets for tablets, but they will more than likely be geared towards gaming. Of course, the NVIDIA Shield device is also their baby, and Huang renewed their commitment to that product. In fact, Haung made it clear that he believes NVIDIA Shield will be the device which transforms Android into a great gaming platform.