by Anton Shilov
03/19/2010 | 01:22 PM
With the recent merge of the system-on-chip and core-logic development teams, Nvidia Corp. hopes to finally establish itself as one of the leading players on the market of chips for various handheld and ultra-portable devices.
Nvidia road to handheld platforms has been long and not exactly successful for a long time. Back in 2003 the company acquired MediaQ company, which supplied graphics processors for various handheld devices. Nvidia re-branded MediaQ’s products into GoForce products and even launched one or two new chips, however, eventually GoForce line fell into oblivion. The second attempt to successfully enter the market of handhelds took place in early 2007, when Nvidia acquired PortalPlayer, the supplier of chips for numerous devices, including Apple iPod. Unfortunately, several months later it appeared that Apple no longer wanted PortalPlayer’s chips.
But there is one thing that Nvidia got with the acquisition of MediaQ and PortalPlayer: the Tegra team. In early 2008 Nvidia unveiled its first own system-on-chip (SoC) device and in mid-2008 the company rolled out a family of Tegra-branded SoCs.
The first-generation Tegra for smartphones has won a number of contracts, but there are still not a lot of actual Nvidia Tegra-based products on the market. The second-generation Tegra SoCs are designed mostly for tablet PCs and since the chip was only launched a couple of months ago, it is hard to expect any devices on its base to be available.
According to the company itself, Tegra has already scored over 50 design wins. In the light of this fact, the company recently merged its SoC and core-logic development groups to create an ultimate team, which, according to some information consists of around 650 engineers. The Santa Clara, California-based chip designer, with the new Tegra group, the company has even more opportunities than before.
“There are a ton of exciting opportunities for us to work on, and you can expect we'll allocate our resources appropriately. One of Nvidia’s great strengths is that we're nimble enough to redeploy resources quickly as business opportunities arise. Tegra has drawn an amazing response from the market,” said Bruce Chan, a spokesman for Nvidia’s Tegra business unit.
One of the main questions at the moment is whether the new Tegra development group will concentrate on a broad lineup of off-the-shelf SoCs, or it will focus on making custom system-on-chips in accordance with concrete demands from Nvidia’s customers. Nvidia does not want to answer this question directly due to natural business reasons.
“We continue to work closely with our partners and customers to support the 50+ Tegra products currently in development,” said Mr. Chan.
There is a lot of noise regarding Nvidia Tegra right now. It remains to be seen when we see actual products and what can Nvidia do with its handset business now that it has 650 engineers working on chips for ultra-mobile devices.
“It is clear that Tegra and Tegra-based devices have captured the imagination of so many people. The schedule for [actual] products is a function of how quickly our customers are ready to bring them to market,” concluded the spokesman for Tegra business unit.