NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) has launched its first smartphone processor with integrated 4G LTE and are naming it Tegra 4i. This latest move is NVIDIA Corporation’s biggest bet to make a mark in the smartphone industry.
The processor, earlier named “Project Grey”, comes with 60 GPU cores compared to 72 in Tegra 4. It has a 2.3 GHz quad-core CPU, and is integrated with a version of NVIDIA’s i500 LTE modem.
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According to the company, Tegra 4i offers the highest performance for any single chip mobile processor. The new processor is half the size of Snapdragon 800. Another unique feature of the processor is that the integrated LTE modem is software-defined, so it can be updated over-the-air without changing the hardware.
The Santa Clara, California-based company expects Tegra 4i to appeal to smartphone makers. Though the company supplies processors for many tablets including Google Nexus 7 and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Surface, it has struggled in the smartphone market.
NVIDIA Corporation’s (NASDAQ:NVDA) vice president for mobile business, Phil Marmack said that Tegra 4i is a huge step forward for the company. “It’s the first time we’ve had an integrated solution, and it radically changes the market availability for us,” he added.
NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) is known for making graphics processors for gaming consoles and personal computers. But growth in the PC as well as gaming consoles market is slowing due to smartphones and tablets. For smartphone makers, integrated chips cost less than purchasing separate chips for the functions. With Tegra 4i, NVIDIA Corporation can address the top-end as well as low-end markets.
QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) is the strongest player in this market. Last month, it launched two new line-ups of processors – the 600 and 800 series. Both of them come with faster 4G LTE and Wi-Fi capabilities, and their performance is better than their previous generations.
Let’s see how well Tegra 4i stands against them in the market. The LTE in Qualcomm’s latest processors is faster than the LTE in Tegra 4i. Analysts say it may limit NVIDIA’s opportunities in the United States.
NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) also unveiled Phoenix, a smartphone reference design to demonstrate the processor’s capabilities to handset vendors. The smartphone OEMs can use the reference design to create their own handsets and bring them into the market more quickly.
NVIDIA Corporation shares were down 1.03 percent to $12.60.