Nvidia’s new cash cow
Nvidia still has money in the bank and it did a lot of good things when it comes to transforming and adapting to the industry. Who could have expected that Google can be so late with Android 3.0 and all other future releases and that there will be so little applications.
Still, acquiring portal player back in 2007 earned Nvidia quite a good position in ARM CPU market, but this market still has to grow with the rest of the non-Apple tablet industry. This is something that is yet to happen, but it might work beyond the hype.
Nvidia has recently acquired Icera soft modem chipsets that can end up in many phones and tablets. Nvidia expects to have its first design wins with Icera LTE modems as soon as Q1 2012, which is what Jensen confirmed at the last company conference call. He said that these modems, particularly Espresso 450 HSPA+, have been tested, approved, and should be shipping with tablets early next year.
The real goal how to make money is integration of this technology in its mobile CPUs and we should see an ARM core with integrated Icera modem. The aim is to get into lower end Smartphone markets, which love all integrated CPU and modem solutions, seeing as how they can save manufacturers a few bucks per design.
This chip should be heavily integrated and it should arrive at some point in 2012. Jensen reminded us that smartphone market should grow to a billion phones in 2015 and it would be good to capture a good chunk of that. Qualcomm is the company that Nvidia wants to attack with this all-integrated chip.
Android is another story as there are so many different resolutions and screens, formats, and things are not so easy. Ice cream sandwich might make things a bit easier for the developers. So after January 2012, things might start to turn for the better for Android based tablets.
Google can be happy that Microsoft, HP’s now defunct Palm OS, or RIM’s Blackberry OS for Playbook are not doing particularly good job fighting Apple’s iOS for iPad.