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NVIDIA No Longer Focusing on Smartphones, Unless It’s the Porsche of Phones

nvidia tegra k1

In an interview with CNET, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has for-the-most-part admitted that his company is moving on from the smartphone market to instead focus its efforts elsewhere. After their Tegra 4i failed to catch on in the main-stream market, Huang has realized that they would rather spend time adding value to certain areas of the mobile tech world, like in cars or gaming-specific devices, set-top boxes, and even in TVs. That doesn’t mean that we won’t see a Tegra superphone or tablet at some point, but NVIDIA is going to make one unless someone wants to make the “Porsche of tablets or phones.” 

The bulk of the interview is centered around the failings of Tegra 4i, a slimmed down variant of NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 that finally included 4G LTE and was supposed to be a game-changer in the main-stream, entry-level phone market. It never did catch on, because of companies like Qualcomm, who have similar chips that I’m guessing are much more affordable for manufacturers to use. Huang also references MediaTek, an up-and-coming chipset maker that is somewhat successfully tried to undercut Qualcomm to enter the market.

Don’t worry, though, NVIDIA isn’t leaving mobile in full. They continue to invest in SHIELD as a platform, so we could see a new SHIELD device at some point. NVIDIA is also going to try and dominate the set-top box market, the smart TV market, and cars, something their CEO loves on a deep, personal level.

But if you were holding out for the next magical Tegra phone, you may be holding out for a long time. Unless a partner comes to NVIDIA to build the ultimate gaming phone or tablet where NVIDIA can add a lot of value, like Xiaomi has tried to do with their latest slate, it’s just not currently in the plans.

Thoughts on NVIDIA mostly exiting the game? I guess it’s tough to fully miss them, since we haven’t seen a Tegra chip in anything major since the original Nexus 7.

Via:  CNET
  • Neel Gupta

    …waiting for Tegra K1 Ara module.

  • alexg

    So all those millions spent on R&D were for nothing?!
    I don’t think we are getting the whole story here.

    • renz

      The thing is I see many people take it as nvidia is pulling from soc market (like what Texas instruments did with their OMAP) while in fact it is not the case. What nvidia saying is they will not going to pursue smart phones aggressively from now on. If they really pulling themselves out of SoC world then why they still push stuff like Shield aggressively. They port Portal and Half Life 2 themselves (that’s why we might not going to see those two will be supported by non tegra device) just to promote their Soc. If nvidia really is pulling out they will not going to waste their money on such effort. Even the article above did not mention nvidia will stop making soc altogether.

  • ta2025

    They didn’t even try…. The K1 could give us that hybrid phone / tablet / dockable desktop second screen, always streaming, multitasking wonder machine we crave…. but no… [sob]. I guess I’ll go buy a Surface Pro 3 now….

  • http://www.facebook.com/joeyklatzko Joseph Klatzko

    I think NVIDIA has a real opportunity to get ahead in the mobile gaming market. I think mobile gaming will be huge by the time the next generation of console hits. We already see it happening with the PS4/Vita, Wii U, Shield/PC. They just need to cut the cord and have standalone mobile gaming deliver the experience of a console but on the go.

  • Francis Short Jr

    Intel next year mobile chip maybe small and fast enough take on Qualcomm

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  • Bob G

    Stupid Qualcomm!

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  • flosserelli

    So they want to design solely for Blackberry?

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  • GTR NISMO

    Who wants a Porsche when you can have a fast car like a Nissan…

  • T_Dizzle

    The android hardware is getting incremental improvements but until someone makes a big breakthrough with the software we’re kind of stuck with the Qualcomms of the world. If Tegra had a software breakthrough to go with a sweet processor they could be a major player.

  • John Davids

    All I want is SHIELD 2 powered by Tegra 4. Please just give me that, NVIDIA.

  • https://www.facebook.com/christopher.johnsc chris_johns

    please relase a good note device…i need a 7-8″ tablet upgrade my og n7 isnt the young sprung chicken she once was…and i want something not overpriced and stacked inside and out…man those front stereo speakers with that screen and a k1? gimme a decent price its mine

    • hkklife

      Let it have a screen no smaller than 7.7″ and no larger than 9″. Minimum of 32GB internal storage (decent speed NAND, please) w/ microSD slot. Must have wireless charging and a solid battery. At least a 1080P screen with decently slim bezels. Stock Android 4.4 or very close to it with guaranteed updates. Don’t even care about speakers. But please make it reasonable quality with Nexus-style pricing to capture every single existing Nexus owner who wants to upgrade but Google is abandoning in their bid to cozy up to the carriers.

      • https://www.facebook.com/christopher.johnsc chris_johns

        Witelrss charging is def not a must have esp with a tablet…dont see the love affair with it i lile to use my phone while it charges not place it down n not touch n move it so it can charge

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  • gambit07

    TI’s omap chips are gone, Nvidia seems to be gone, Exynos has never really made it into the US, and Intel still hasn’t gotten a chip out there with a foothold. Personally, I don’t like it. Competition means continued innovation, right now Qualcomm has a lock on the SOC market in the US.

    • br_hermon

      It’s probably a long shot at this point, but at least Toshiba has pledged to provide SOC for project Ara.

      • hkklife

        Given Toshiba’s spotty track record for setting standards (HD-DVD) and their bloat-laden PCs I wouldn’t count on it.

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        • br_hermon

          Yeah. I’m pretty much there with ya on that.

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    • JoeTi

      I hear from Intel people they are going to make a big push into the affordable mobile chip space. They’re feeling is 2015 you see their offerings pop up a lot more in the US space. Good luck intel!

  • BlackMaGiC1o0

    Once upon the time the Tegra chip use to be the must have chip in every phone. Now it will fade in to distant memory.

    • https://www.facebook.com/christopher.johnsc chris_johns

      phones maybe…but who cares…i want this power in a tablet something worth while…not a phone phones are fine with current processors…hell my moto x has a duelcore snapdragon and with art she never skips a beat…its actually a beautiful thing

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  • K

    Finally no more exclusive Tegra zone releases

    • renz

      Trust me there will be more.

  • https://www.facebook.com/christopher.johnsc chris_johns

    ugh aw….i wanna see some k1 powered tablets! come on nvidia forget phones at least stick with tablets

  • Droid Ronin

    with that being said, I’m still using my Tegra 2 powered XOOM.

  • The Narrator

    Also, let’s not forget their unreliability or help when HTC wanted to update the One X.

  • anon@

    Thats why they lost….NVIDIA is pulling up in a porshe while Snapdragon is gone in a ferrari lol.

    • https://www.facebook.com/christopher.johnsc chris_johns

      this…makes no sense…nvidia makes better chips than snapdragon…snapdragon has far more production of chips than nvidia at a lower cost…which is why phone companies use them…in essence nvidia is the porshe and snapdragon is the volkswagon…far more massively produced and economical…and still good…just not as good as a porshe

      • The Narrator

        Tegra does not make better chips. Tegra 3 was awful, the Tegra 4 is awful too. Proven too, not just opinion.

        • J. Gilbertson

          I’ll never forget the awful display issues I had with my transformer prime. Dang screen jumped up and down a few pixels all the time. I was relieved to be able to return it to best buy.

          • The Narrator

            It’s embarrassing, but hey, there’s always those that will put faith into useless benchmarks.

        • https://www.facebook.com/christopher.johnsc chris_johns

          Opinion…international phones with tegra 3s n no lte performed better then instate not tegra phones…look it up…but this was a while ago i dont really care anymore im talking about now

        • renz

          In what manner tegra 4 is awful? Performance wise it is the only soc that can keep up with snapdragon 800. Samsung only closing the gap with snapdragon 800 when they come up with 5420. Awful power consumption? That one is not nvidia fault entirely. The early version of A15 is very well known to be power hunger. That’s why exynos 5410 only clocked for 1.6-1.7Ghz range so they can fit in phones better. If ARM can provide much power efficient cores nvidia (or any company that using ARM stock core) will use them just nvidia did with TK1 which is more power efficient A15 revision from ARM.

  • http://infotainmentempire.blogspot.com Rob

    Makes sense, can’t blame em for bowing out before it gets ugly.

    • Blue Sun

      I think it’s been ugly for nVidia for a few years.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    That’s the equivalent of companies saying “Well, we’re going to pull back from the high end and foucs on emerging markets where there;s a lot of growth”

    Aka. Qualcomm is killing them and they can’t compete. So they’ll toss us that BS porche line.

    • https://www.facebook.com/christopher.johnsc chris_johns

      its not really that way…qualcomm focuses soley on mobile chips…nvidia doesnt…nvidia makes more powerful chips but at a higher cost…doesnt make sense for manufacturers to use them when they can get a bulk order of qualcomm chips for cheaper(still good chips)..nvdia doesnt want to focus more money into a field that is flooded and i dont blame them…i still rather an nvidia powered tablet then a qualcomm anyday…not a cell phone since drivers and updates are easier

  • Justen DeBowles

    Their tablet chips are generally the strongest anyways compared to other manufacturers… stick to tablets and the Shield.

    • https://www.facebook.com/christopher.johnsc chris_johns

      couldnt agree more

    • zurginator

      I’m pretty sure if it was worth their while they would continue making the chips – if they don’t keep making them, they obviously weren’t making any money doing that.

      • renz

        Nvidia did not stop making tegra altogether. If they really did were are not going to see erista and parker in nvidia roadmap

  • zepfloyd

    A Snapdragon monopoly is not good for anyone. Outside of Exynos (which never really is used in the US) there’s no one left. Unles Intel ever catches on…

    • The Narrator

      Well, we also don’t want half baked chips when we can get quality from Qualcomm.

      • zepfloyd

        For now, yes, but someone needs to keep Qualcomm on their toes. Competition is ALWAYS a good thing.

        • The Narrator

          If the competition even know’s what they’re doing, then yes, it’s a good thing.

        • https://www.facebook.com/christopher.johnsc chris_johns

          this guy gets it

        • hkklife

          Look at how Intel was getting sluggish, arrogant and overpriced in the desktop world until beat them to 1GHZ back in 2000 and then continued to pummel them (from a cost/performance ratio) until the arrival of Conroe

      • gnauh

        Huang is a joke. who makes jokes..

        “unless it’s the porsche of tablets and phones”

        He talks about cars while he’s in another business.. Porsche isn’t even considered top-ranking car.

        • ta2025

          Some people think it is. Its not like any of us are driving lambos or bentleys

          • zurginator

            Those aren’t top-ranking either. Pagani, Koenigsegg, or Rolls Royce would be more correct.

          • Anonyguest

            I’ve heard of a porsche, I’ve heard of a RR, a lambo, and a bently. Apparently I’m to poor to have heard of the first two you listed.

          • zurginator

            I’m sure everyone on DL is haha.

            Paganini is to Ferrari as Porsche is to Toyota.

        • renz

          What’s wrong about him talking about cars? What he says is just a figure of speak. And their tegra chip was used in automotive since the early days of tegra

    • Droid Ronin

      I sure hope that there is another chip manufacturer that matches the quality of a Snapdragon. It looks like NVIDIA is going the way of TI, at least for phones & tablets.

      • renz

        Maybe for phones but not in tablet. If they really not interested with tablet anymore then they are not going to make a deal with Xiomi to supply their TK1.

    • hkklife

      Wasn’t the rumor that the (final) Nexus 8 built by HTC would be Intel-powered?

      • michael arazan

        Key word “rumor”

  • The Narrator

    Guess the K1 is dead too. I guess the point of that was to show “ermergod it’s so powerful we aren’t using it”.

    • https://www.facebook.com/christopher.johnsc chris_johns

      we will see in tablets…prob not phones…companies dont wanna spend more money on a processor in a device they produce by the millions its not cost efficient…makes sense for tablets though

  • Justen DeBowles

    Just please don’t drop the Note line. such power for that price is unheard of in the tablet world. Hopefully they’ll keep the Shield, Note, and random ASUS high end tabs coming.

  • The Narrator

    They can’t provide LTE in a timely manner, so that’s their fault.

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  • http://www.techreviewshop.com/ JP

    So the new Tegra note is dead then?

    • Grahaman27

      This article was about smarphones.

      • john’s red jumpers

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    • john’s red jumpers

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    • renz

      No. Read the article.nvidia only shift their focus from smartphone. In the latest earning Huang said that tegra will focus on automotive, android gaming and product differentiation. It doesn’t make sense to them to leave the soc business when that still put their focus on android. So what we are going to see is product like xiomi MiPad and Shield.