Share this Story

NVIDIA Struggling to Interest OEM’s in the Tegra 4 Processor?

tegra 4 official

In a recent report from DigiTimes, it looks like NVIDIA is having a hard time convincing tablet and smartphone makers to use their new and still unreleased Tegra 4 processor in upcoming devices. Apparently, Toshiba is the first and only adopter of the new Tegra 4, who will feature the chip in tablets that could debut in July. With stiff competition coming from Qualcomm and Samsung, NVIDIA is looking at other ways of selling and getting these new Tegra 4’s out of the door, even if they don’t have big name support from the likes of HTC and ASUS. 

For starters, we have talked about how NVIDIA could have plans on white-labeling devices, which would certainly kickstart the process of shipping out the new chips and getting them to market. Another means that was discussed from the source was that the company could lower the price of the Tegra 3 and possibly secure entry-level orders that would lead to further business down the road.

Needless to say, whether the report is true and NVIDIA is struggling to interest OEM’s, they will need support and consistent orders to keep the Tegra 4 in the game as a competitor against the likes of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon and Samsung’s fancy new Octa chip.

If we could point to a reason that would make OEM’s shy away from the Tegra 4, are there any ideas on what that would be?

Via: DigiTimes

  • TylerChappell

    I love my N7 and am happy with the overall performance of the Tegra 3, but Qualcomm has become my new favorite mobile chip manufacturer. Besides, I still like AMD over nVidia anyway so I felt like a bad person when buying my N7.

  • Had a T2, it was a dissappointment. Then used a friends T3, it was blown away by my dual. Not going to mess with T4. It looks like Nvidia throws cores in but doesn’t actually make it any good. Maybe that is why nobody wants them, just putting “X cores” on the box doesn’t sell anymore when people realize its not more effective.

  • Tony Allen
  • Diablo81588

    Lack of integrated LTE is probably a big factor.

  • bull3946

    Nvidia has consistently over-promised and under delivered. Also, support for legacy products has been lacking.

    Nvidia pretty much left Motorola and LG to swing with Tegra 2, causing them to break update promises with ICS. I can see why any OEM would be wary to work with them.

    Qualcomm SoCs have been well supported, perform very well, and have proven to be power efficient. Nvidia has yet to prove that they can offer that sort of reliability.

    • Aaron


      I got stuck on GB with my Moto Tegra 2 phone. Upgraded to an S4 device, but still burns a little.

    • Exactly.

  • I’m glad. I haven’t been impressed by any tegra processor yet and the fact that they have Tegra specific games pisses me off.

  • AnthonyMoya

    The tegra processors aren’t the best performers out there. They are great for gaming and graphics, but as far as raw processing power and handling multitasking not so much. As much as I love my Nexus 7 there is still quite a bit of lag on it. I haven’t experienced any lag on my Note 2 yet. I can’t seem to slow it down.

  • Just FYI, Vizio is going to be using Tegra 4 chips in their 10.1″ stock Android tablets, so that’s at least two vendors they’ve wooed. That said, Tegra has become the go-to mid-range SoC it seems, while Qualcomm and Samsung are duking it out for the performance sector. And, TI is running the extremely low-end, but only because the OMAP5 hasn’t debuted yet, and they’re taking their sweet time on it.

    • Asmodai

      OMAP5 has debuted, it’s targeting automotive infotainment systems (google DRA74x) as TI no longer intends to compete in the smart phone/tablet market.

  • Aaron

    I’m not an expert, but I feel like Nvidia isn’t as good as they think they are. Two of my devices run Tegra3, and yet a dual core S4 is faster. Kinda like Samsung and they’re octa-core stunt. I’m siding with Qualcomm on this one.

    • Tegra 3 is 4 A9 cores, S4 is two A15-like (but not true A15) cores. That accounts for the performance difference. The Tegra 4 is four A15 cores, which should destroy the S4 and S4 Pro dual-cores, but is a tough sell against the S4 Prime (let alone the 800 series). Against the Exynos 5xxx, same general idea, though I agree the Octa is little more than a publicity stunt.

      • Aaron

        Thanks for the explanation, that explains it. So then in reality Tegra 4 should be great, but Qualcomm is pushing things out like crazy.

        • kg215

          Qualcomm isn’t pushing things out, it’s just the companies mostly switch off. Nvidia had the first dual core and the first quad core, but other companies leap frog them. Then they come out with the next thing, like the tegra 4: first quad core A15. Afterwards Samsung and Qualcomm will probably leap from them again, the s4 pro and prime are both inferior to the tegra 4, that includes the graphics on them. Samsung has the octa chip incoming, Qualcomm probably has something else ready. Let’s be clear, the tegra 4 is great and will be the best when it comes out. The question is how much does it cost to make and for how long will it be on top.

      • Dave

        True, but Qualcomm and Samsung will sell the s*** out of their chips, and Nvidia I’ll supply Asus.

        • michael arazan

          If Nvidia doesn’t get any orders for their new chip it will be disastrous for them and they may drop out of the mobile market the same way Texas Instruments did when they realized they couldn’t do quad cores, or they would have to go back to redesigning their chips or sell the current one so cheaply they would take a loss. Hope they have some cash in the bank to get them through the first 2 quarters of the year.

  • Does that mean no Tegra 4 for the new Nexus 7?

  • Dave

    who didn’t see this coming? Qualcomm and Samsung absolutely own the market right now, and that probably isn’t changing anytime soon.

    • Diablo81588

      Samsung processors are only available on their devices. Yes, they’re popular, but I wouldn’t say they “own” the market.

      • Dave

        6 out of every 10 Android activations is pretty impressive. I meant also including the Qualcomm powered S3 which has sold a few this year.

        • Diablo81588

          I’m specifically talking about their processors, not phone market share. The majority of Samsung sales are the s3, which as you said don’t use Samsung processors in the US. I’d say Qualcomm owns most of the mobile processor market.

          • kg215

            They do for now but they are behind technically, krait is inferior to true A15.

          • Dave

            I forget, did the international s3 use the Exynos 4412? That would be a lot of sales. I don’t recall which they used.

    • New_Guy

      TI got the point months ago. Looks like Nvidia is about to have the rude awakening delivered to their doorstep as well.

      • Dave

        Samsung and Qualcomm were sitting there laughing at the Nvidia dude on stage at CES, because they know nobody will use them (figuratively speaking). Qualcomm shut the lights off when they sealed the s3 deal last year.

  • Meister_Li

    I’m kinda unhappy about that. As much as Nvidia are asses when it comes to sources, their Tegra 4 demonstration was quite impressive and it’s the only A15 Chip aside from Samsung’s offering right now. Then again, I’d be happy with a Transformer Tablet that has a Samsung A15 inside too. 😛 Not too hot on Qualcomm, tho. The old A9 Architecture is… Well, getting old. I can see newer versions of Android and Apps running a lot better by utilizing the A15 features.

    • Droidzilla

      NVidia doesn’t have a corner on the A15 market any more than they did on the A9 market. The same cycle will happen that went before: NVidia will be first to market with the new tech, but it’ll be unrefined (not bad; just not as good as it could be). The other OEMs will come out with similar architecture chipsets with better optimisation and out compete the NVidia offering.

      Tegra chips seem to be only for early adopters. If you can wait a couple of months, Qualcomm or Samsung (formerly TI, but they’re out of it) will come out with something better. In my opinion, NVidia rushes incomplete products to market just to be first. Their offerings will supersede the last gen stuff, but other offerings will come along shortly and pass Tegra up.

    • snapdragonFan

      You do realize A15 and A9 are both based on ARMv7 architecture spec? What would be correct is saying the old A9 micro architecture is getting old. But this to is not a correct statement if made towards Qualcomms S4 lineup. As their micro architecture is much more similar to an A15 micro architecture. Not sure what “new” features you are referring to wrt to Qualcomms S4 vs A15, since they both implement the same features of the ARMv7 architecture. Maybe you are referring to the fact that an A15 is more powerful that an S4 core per core. But when placed in an product were heat and power matter, an A15 will quickly be thermally gated while an S4 will be able to maintain frequency much longer before thermal gating kicks in. Likely leading to an S4 feeling like it has just as good or better performance than an A15. Given a product where heat and power don’t matter, the S4 wont perform as well.

  • kixofmyg0t

    Less competition, not a good thing.

    Right now we’re in a 2 horse race between Qualcomm and Samsung.


    • TI already told that they are out of the Cell and Tablet market. They will concentrate in Car, MID and other markets…OMAP5 may never see the light

      • kixofmyg0t

        Yeah I’m tracking what TI is doing.

        OMAP5 will be the last of their chips if it even makes it to market. It’s sad.

        I want AMD to fill the void that Ti is leaving personally.

        • Asmodai

          AMD dumped their mobile GPU division (Imageon) in 2008 and I don’t see them building a new one. Qualcomm bought them and renamed them Adreno (Radeon with the letters shuffled) so the closest thing you’re likely to get to a AMD GPU anytime soon Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips.

    • Asmodai

      TI no longer intends to compete in the tablet/smart phone market. While OMAP5 has the new CortexA15 CPU cores it has a dated 2 Core PowerVR Series 5 GPU. (roughly equal to an iPhone 4S and weaker than both the current iPad and iPhone or heck even the PS Vita). They are targeting it toward the embedded market such as the automotive industry instead.

      • kixofmyg0t

        You are confusing the 543MP4 in the iPad/Vita/etc as being weaker than the 544MP2 in OMAP5.

        544MP2 even being a dual core GPU is more powerful than its older quad core predecessor.

        • Asmodai

          Last I checked the iPad 4 has a Quad core 554 not a 543. Also while it is true that the 544 is faster than the 543 with an equal number of cores I don’t believe the difference is such that it will make up for having 1 or two less cores. The Exynos 5 Octa also has 544 based GPU but it has 3 cores instead of just 2 making it more competitive.

          • kixofmyg0t

            When you mentioned the iPad and Vita together I assumed you were referring to the iPad 3, which has basically the same GPU as the Vita. That’s why I went on and compared the 543MP4 to the 544MP2.

      • Diablo81588

        Don’t let the amount of cores confuse you. The power vr 544mp2 is extremely fast.

        • Asmodai

          Compared to what? GPU’s that have been out for months or even years? Sure. Is the PowerVR 544MP2 fast compared to Adreno 330? the 545mp4 in the current iPad? The upcoming PowerVR Series 6? ARM Mali T6xx series? I bet not. It may be fast compared to a lot of what it out RIGHT NOW but by the time it hits the market (if it comes to phones/tablets at all instead of just automotive) it’s not looking good compared to the other new SoC’s arriving around the same time.

          • Diablo81588

            Compared to anything on the market. Also, the current iPad uses the 543mp4, not the 545, which has less performance than the dual core 544mp2 in the OMAP 5.

          • Asmodai

            No the current iPad (not mini) uses the PowerVR SGX554MP4. That’s 554 not 545 so your are right that I made a typo but it does not use the 543 that the prior two iPad generations did and it IS more powerful that the 544 in the OMAP 5.

  • yep

    I really don’t like nvidia, i’m not sure why but I just dont.. does anyone else feel the same way

    • lol. i want to like them, they do some neat side stuff like 3dtv play, but then they do crap like pushing for thd exclusives.

  • Mike

    Im actually glad. Nvidia and Qualcomm are always behind the curve. They leapfrog TI and Sammy briefly, only to be left in the dust shortly thereafter by 1-2 generations of tech.

    • Asmodai

      What are you talking about? Qualcomm was one of, if not the first SoC producer to release ARM chips on a 28nm process. They were one of, if not the first SoC producer to integrate LTE into the SoC instead of having to have an additional chip. Their Krait cores are superior to the CortexA9 cores with which they competed and are only now being surpassed by the CortexA15 cores that are just hitting the market. Even more impressive is they designed Krait themselves and had it in production before everyone else who is just using the provided ARM designs. I don’t see how you can possibly say Qualcomm is behind the curve. Maybe you got Qualcomm and TI backwards. Last I heard TI is dropping out of the smart phone/tablet market and Amazon was considering buying their SoC business. OMAP4 is dated and OMAP5 while having the new CortexA15 cores pairs that with a weak dual core only PowerVR Series 5 GPU. PowerVR Series 6 is almost here and even iPhone and iPads that have been out for a while have 3 and 4 core Series 5 GPUs.

      • Diablo81588

        The OMAP 5 will still have one of the fastest gpus on the market. Just because the new iPad has it currently doesn’t mean it doesn’t perform.

        • Asmodai

          Yeah the automotive infotainment market (google DRA74x). It’s dual core Series 5 GPU is essentially what the iPhone4S had in 2011. TI is done in the smart phone/tablet market (except maybe on budget devices)

          • Diablo81588

            The iPhone 4s does not use the same gpu as the OMAP 5. Same series doesn’t equal same performance.

          • Asmodai

            Can you point to me where I said it used the same GPU? I don’t believe I did.

          • Diablo81588

            “It’s dual core Series 5 GPU is essentially what the iPhone4S had in 2011.”

      • kg215

        the s4 processors have been a huge success and are great right now. However they were WAY behind the curve with their s3 devices. They had overclocked a7 devices while everyone else had a9.

  • Prox

    fix the crap 5th core that lags on day to day use and NVIDIA will solve their problem.

    • if you are talking about on the transformer line…i believe it was pinned to terrible internal memory and slow I/O and not the 5th companion core. my nexus 7 doesn’t lag like my transformer did.

      • kindrudekid

        yes that terrible I/O ugh!!

        • hkklife

          Funny, my N7 (both 16 & 32gb versions) lags far worse than any T3-based TF I’ve ever used, especially if you crank ’em up to performance mode in the settings menu. But yeah, in general, it’s well past time we see some better performing NAND and I/o subsystems in modern Android devices!

  • Whatever means less THD exclusives, the better.

    • Raven

      On the flip side, I have bought so many THD games, that I WANT them succeed. I was really hoping that a new ASUS Transformer would come out featuring the Tegra 4.

      • JoshGroff

        That would be cool, I just bought a TF prime since my N7 broke and they were the same price used. More storage+larger screen+SD slot+HDMI out, why not.

    • fanboy1974

      You took the words right out of my mouth. At first I thought that THD zone was the right direction but it fragments the games.

      Google needs to develop a gaming center and come out with a game controller. Any game wanting entry into the game center will have to have support for this controller. Every phone can be turned into a game system.

      • I actually would prefer to use a solution like the one that Apple uses in iTunes.
        If an app is designed for both tablets and phones, it gets a small badge with a plus in it below the name of the application.

        This does two main things, it:

        -Forces the developer to develop for both devices because the badge adds value.
        -Gives the consumer a very fast way to see which apps are compatible with both devices.

        Google should have something like this, all games must have controller support (provided that controller support is logical) and must be compatible with all devices that meet certain requirements (essentially no exclusivity/processor requirements/etc.) if they want to get the badge.

  • MooseCat

    If I remember correctly, the Tegra 4 doesn’t have built in LTE compatibility (only as an add-on) like the Qualcomm S4. Could it be the need of an additional modem be the reason?

    • JoshGroff

      Sounds like a good enough reason. Although, that doesn’t affect ASUS since their tablets are WiFi only.

      • Hunter

        The Nexus 7(Asus) has an HSPA+ variant. Its not LTE, but its also not WiFi only.

        • JoshGroff

          There’s always that one exception. >.> Just like the Nexus One having a micro SD slot.

      • Dain Laguna

        And to add to hunters comment, I’m pretty sure the one x + is running a beefed up tegra 3 but its lte capabilities are probably due to a standalone modem.

    • Eric Kosalka
      • Diablo81588

        “There are only a handful of smartphones on the market that use Icera’s softmodem tech and none of them have decent battery life.”
        Doesn’t sound very promising..

        • Droidzilla

          But does sound like typical NVidia.

      • MooseCat

        I couldn’t remember for sure so I did a quick search about the Tegra 4 and LTE and these are just a few that came up:

        “Nvidia hopes to change the status quo with the Tegra 4, which comes with an optional LTE chipset, the Icera i500. This 5th generation Icera modem is smaller and more efficient than previous iterations, and Nvidia promises worldwide LTE voice and data compatibility. But the Icera i500 is not integrated in the SoC, meaning that there still could be efficiency issues. We’ll have to wait for more details on this.”

        “The chip will also include a separate 4G LTE modem of Nvidia’s design, the i500 soft modem, which begins sampling to partners this month.”

        “Despite its companion core setup, Nvidia couldn’t manage to integrate LTE in its chip, which negatively impacted battery life when compared to Qualcomm’s integrated setup. Unfortunately, the same is true again — Tegra 4 doesn’t have an LTE chip integrated, so smartphones and tablets with Tegra inside will require an additional cellular modem.”

  • KleenDroid