The war for the highest performance in graphics applications has officially extended to mobile devices. Nowadays, companies like Apple, ARM, Nvidia Corp., Qualcomm Technologies, Samsung Electronics and Vivante are fighting to deliver the highest-performing graphics processors or the most efficient graphics architecture. As it seems, the company’s take different approaches to show advantages of their solution.
Nvidia Corp., which is slowly entering the market of mass mobile devices with its Tegra application processors, created its own portable video game system called Shield to demonstrate performance advantages of its latest Tegra 4 system-on-chip. By contrast, Qualcomm Technologies, the world’s largest supplier of application processors for mobile devices, does not have such plans and advices gamers to get ready for over 50 devices based on its Snapdragon 800 SoC, which it claims is the world’s fastest mobile application processor.
“Our strategy is to work with our customers, providing them with the silicon, software, and integration to make their products the best that they can be instead of building our own hardware or devices. […] We have 40+ designs in development for our Snapdragon 600 processors and 55+ designs in development for our Snapdragon 800 processors. We do not feel the need to build our own devices to add to our design wins – the numbers speak for themselves. And part of the reason for such great traction for our high-end processors is the next-generation graphics and gaming experiences they bring to bear,” said Mike Yuen, senior director of business development for Qualcomm, in an interview with UBM Tech Game Network.
At the Consumer Electronics Show 2013, Nvidia announced project Shield, a gaming portable device for open platforms. As an Android-based device, Nvidia Shield gives access to any game on Google Play. As a wireless receiver and controller, it can stream games from a PC powered by Nvidia GeForce GTX GPUs, accessing titles on its Steam game library from anywhere in the home. Nvidia Shield is based on Nvidia Tegra 4 system-on-chip (four ARM Cortex-A15 cores, Nvidia GeForce graphics adapter with 72 stream processors), is equipped with a 5” capacitive touch-screen with 1280*720 resolution (294ppi) and features 802.11n Wi-Fi technology with 2*2 MIMO antennas to stream PC games.
Considering the fact that Nvidia Shield will have the same hardware as advanced media tablets or smartphones based on Android operating system, it is hard to expect it to be truly affordable, specially keeping in mind additional parts like gamepad elements. Since Shield is designed for open-platform titles, Nvidia will not get money selling games for it (except from royalties that it may get from Tegra-exclusive titles), but will have to sell hardware at a profit. All-in-all, do not expect Nvidia Shield to be sold at a discount price or below the hardware costs. Given that Nvidia Shield will be rather expensive, it will barely feature many titles designed exclusively for it, as a result, Nvidia will not be able to show all the advantages of Tegra 4 using shield.