Nvidia Corp. has altered its Tegra mobile chip roadmap and now the world will see the first products based on fully-integrated Tegra 4i some six months earlier than originally schedule. At the same time, the company delayed the mass release of its high-performance Tegra 4 aplication processors by several months. Thanks to adjustments, Nvidia will enjoy better Tegra sales growth in the second half of the company’s fiscal year.
“Because we decided to pull in Tegra 4i by six months, as a result, we slipped out Tegra 4 by about three months; we are going to have a trough in Q2 this year,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive officer of Nvidia, during a recent conference call with financial analysts.
Nvidia second quarter of fiscal year 2014 ends on July 29, 2013. As a result, even if one of the company’s partners starts to ship a Tegra 4-based device in the final days of quarters, that will be more-or-less in line with Nvidia’s original promises in February and several weeks behind usual trajectory for a new system-on-chip ramp up. In any case, the firm will have rather powerful chip to ship for gadgets due in the holiday season, which is a positive news.
Nvidia did not really announce any timeframes for Tegra 4i-based products and even did not claim a single design win with partners. Market rumours suggested that the Tegra 4i is a product to ship early in calendar 2014, so pulling it in by several months into 2013 makes a lot of sense since the company will be able to address inexpensive smartphones with it.
“We expect, or we continue to expect 4G/LTE data certification by early Q3, and Tegra 4i certification in Q4. In addition, this quarter we are working closely with our customers in preparing new Tegra 4 devices for launch in the second half of the year and several will be announced over the coming weeks. […] With Tegra 4 devices and Tegra 4i certification underway, we are gearing up to return to growth in the second half of the year,” said Rob Csongor, vice president of investor relations at Nvidia.
Nvidia Tegra 4i features four new high-performance ARM Cortex-A9/r4 cores running at 2.30GHz as well as one low-power ARM Cortex-A9 core that operates when performance is not required. The processor also integrates custom ultra low-power GeForce core with 60 stream processors, LPDDR3 memory controller, software Icera i500 LTE baseband modem (GSM, HSPA+, TD-HSPA, 4G/LTE), advanced image processor as well as Chimera HDR photography processor, which is expected to become one of the main selling-points for Tegra 4i-based handsets. The SoC is aimed at mainstream smartphones.
Nvidia Tegra 4, previously code-named “Wayne”, features four ARM Cortex-A15 general-purpose cores as well as custom second-generation low-power general-purpose cores. The chip also incorporates 72 custom Nvidia GeForce stream processors that provide six times graphics processing performance of previous-gen Tegra 3. The new application processor also fully supports output to ultra high-definition screens with up to 4K resolution (3840*2160). Tegra 4 offers exceptional graphics processing, with lightning-fast web browsing, stunning visuals and new camera capabilities through computational photography, according to Nvidia. The new SoC is made using 28nm process technology and is aimed at high-end smartphones and media tablets.