Nvidia to license graphics tech to smartphone makers
Nvidia will start licensing its graphics technology to smartphone and tablet makers, extending its business away from the struggling PC market.
The first technology to be licensed will be Kelper, Nvidia’s latest GPU architecture.
At the moment, Nvidia makes its own Tegra chips, which are used in tablets such as the Google Nexus 7 and Asus Transformer Pad Infinity, and smartphones such as the HTC One X. The next generation of Tegra will use Kelper.
Nvidia will license its designs to other manufacturers, following ARM’s successful business model. It’s not the first designs Nvidia has licensed – it’s worked with Sony on the Playstation 3 and Intel uses pieces of its visual computing innovations.
“Now, the explosion of Android devices presents an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate this effort,” the company said.
The bottom line is the world has changed and we’re expanding our business model to serve markets that we historically could not serve by selling chips alone
“Through our efforts designing Tegra into mobile devices, we’ve gained valuable experience designing for the smallest power envelopes,” Nvidia added. “As a result, Kepler can operate in a half-watt power envelope, making it scalable from smartphones to supercomputers.”
Nvidia said it was making the move to take advantage of mobile device growth. “The bottom line is the world has changed and we’re expanding our business model to serve markets that we historically could not serve by selling chips alone,” CEO Jen-Hsun Huang told Reuters.
Huang wouldn’t say which manufacturers Nvidia was specifically targeting, but his comments suggested companies such as Apple and Samsung, which make their own chips using licensed designs.
“We will target customers where their capacity and desire to build their own application processors is great,” said Huang. “This is a way for us to engage customers who don’t like to buy chips because they like to create their own, because they have the capacity, creativity and now the scale to build their own.”