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Nvidia Open to Acquisitions, Not Tablets, Smartphones

By - Source: The Wall Street Journal | B 7 comments

Nvidia's CEO shoots down talk about building a smartphone or tablet.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Nvidia is shooting down talk about building its own branded smartphones and tablets despite the current in-house reference designs. Instead, the company is open to acquisitions if their technologies fit within Nvidia's current businesses.

The comment stems from a brief interview during Computex where the company was showcasing its upcoming handheld gaming console, Nvidia Shield. It's entering into new territory by directly competing with Sony and Nintendo which have dominated the handheld gaming scene since 2004 and 1989 respectively. Nvidia's spin will be that it not only supports Android-based gaming, but can stream compatible PC games from a Kepler-based desktop.

The new handheld is based on the company's Tegra 4 "Wayne" mobile SoC for high-end smartphones and tablets which stems from the company's expertise in desktop and notebook GeForce GPUs. It comprises of four ARM Cortex-A15 cores clocked up to 1.9 GHz, and 72 GeForce cores clocked at 672 MHz.

The company also released a Tegra 4i model for mainstream phones sporting four Cortex-A9 R4 cores clocked up to 2.3 GHz, 60 GeForce cores clocked at 660 MHz, and an integrated i500 LTE/HSPA+ baseband processor stemming from its acquisition of Icera Inc. in May 2011 for $367 million USD in cash.

Thus, Nvidia will only make acquisitions if it falls within the company's roadmap. And even though Nvidia is entering the handheld console gaming scene with Shield, that doesn't mean tablets and smartphones are on the way as well.

"We will not build things that the market already has….such as smartphones, PCs and tablets," said Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang. Instead, Nvidia will continue to focus on GPUs for servers, data centers and mobile devices, he added.

Despite the Wall Street Journal's report, Shield will not be the only portable gaming device based on the Android platform on the market. The Wikipad 7 is slated to launch next week and features an included peripheral that adds your typical gamepad controls. There's also the Archos GamePad tablet which sports on-board gamepad controls and built-in key-mapping software.

However Shield will be the only one of the three that's actually shaped like an Xbox 360 game controller with a 5-inch screen jammed on top. Other competitive devices heading to the Android gaming market include the OUYA console, the GameStick, and GamePop from BlueStacks.

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  • -1 Hide
    eric4277 , June 5, 2013 7:20 PM
    Man, I love Nvidia, but what freaking morons do they have making decisions for them? They just spent God knows how much developing and producing those PoS Shields that will not sell and are priced at $350. When they could have took that money to make their own brands of gaming oriented smartphones, something that is guaranteed to sell, for ~$700 a pop. And they lost out on hardware support for next gen consoles. AMD is on their heels in Video cards and will probably overtake them due to all the consoles running off AMD tech. Intel will have to buy them out when they go bankrupt.
  • 3 Hide
    bustapr , June 5, 2013 8:00 PM
    i doubt theyd go bankrupt anytime soon. Im pretty sure they are still the leaders in the discrete gpu business and have enough loyal buyers to remain so even with all that amd advertising going around. the expectations of shield are low as hell, and I really think they should have made a phone like the xperia play rather than a console. if people want mobile gaming, they would go 3ds or vita(which is undoubtably going to get a good boost with the ps4). a gaming phone wouldve had some hype rather than nothing like the shield.
    but I do agree that they will have a bumpy road ahead of them if they keep capitalizing on mobile. AMD is sure to gain more sales every quarter at the pace they are going. they seem to have fixed their marketing team, and the marketing from sony and microsoft helps too. nvidia should also get their asses in gear with gpu computing. GCN ripped them a new one and now GCN 2.0 is looking more and more a beast to be feared.
  • -1 Hide
    m32 , June 5, 2013 11:38 PM
    I'm not trying to be negative but I don't expect the "shield" to be profitable. Nuff said? You know you are thinking it also!
  • 0 Hide
    JAYDEEJOHN , June 6, 2013 2:06 AM
    This could become a market, a decent market, but at the top of the tier in pricing and also perf, I see low volumes.
    If this market does take off, offering up a wider range of available SKUs, with pricing and perf variable, then just maybe...
  • 4 Hide
    somebodyspecial , June 6, 2013 3:20 AM
    Quote:
    Man, I love Nvidia, but what freaking morons do they have making decisions for them? They just spent God knows how much developing and producing those PoS Shields that will not sell and are priced at $350. When they could have took that money to make their own brands of gaming oriented smartphones, something that is guaranteed to sell, for ~$700 a pop. And they lost out on hardware support for next gen consoles. AMD is on their heels in Video cards and will probably overtake them due to all the consoles running off AMD tech. Intel will have to buy them out when they go bankrupt.

    You need to read more. It only cost 10mil to develop. So at even 100,000 units (I'm sure they will sell far more over it's life and again with rev2 with T5 etc) at 100 profit they get their money back for break even. After that it's all profits. Every rev after this costs even less to dev as they just drop in a chip again with more power. T5 is 20nm, it should just drop in no problem for a massive increase in power as it's a kepler variant. The die shrink should mean no more power just more perf, so practially ZERO R&D spent for rev2 etc.

    They should break even on the pre-orders alone most likely. But I could be wrong. Vita has sold over 7mil in a year and a half. 3DS sold ~35mil so far. In japan alone the launch week for both was 3DS 367,691 to Vita 324,859. I'm guessing NV will be laughing after a month or two tops if not the first week. Unlike Sony/Nintendo they already had a SOC done for phones/tablets. It was virtually free to throw it into a gamepad. Only the rest of the dev cost them, the soc dev was already baked in for mobile.

    http://www.isuppli.com/teardowns/news/pages/nintendo-3ds-carries-$100-71-bill-of-materials-ihs-isuppli-physical-teardown-reveals.aspx
    Considering the 3DS only costs $100. I'm guessing NV will be lauging on preorders as I doubt it's over $200. They own the soc, so we're not talking much more than a bigger lcd etc. The previous model DS was only $75 per unit.
    http://www.isuppli.com/teardowns/pages/headlines.aspx
    An ipad mini is only $188. S4 is only $236. A Surface RT is only 271! And $101 of that is the 10.1in screen and only $13 to build it...LOL So I'd be shocked to see the BOM/manufacturing cost on shield to be over $250.

    The BOM on the Vita 3G is only $159. See the point? They will laugh about the money they make for $10mil dev cost very quickly.
  • 3 Hide
    somebodyspecial , June 6, 2013 4:26 AM
    Quote:
    I'm not trying to be negative but I don't expect the "shield" to be profitable. Nuff said? You know you are thinking it also!


    Read my other reply. You have no idea what you're talking about. It will make money even if it is a miserable seller. It only cost 10mil to dev this thing. It has a higher res screen than both competitors, larger screen, more games AND apps (all android stuff), streams pc games, and can eventually miracast or even now hdmi out to TV for big screen, has more power etc etc...It is FAR better than Vita or 3DS. Nobody is planning games for either Vita or 3DS, but 60% are planning MOBILE (meaning runs on shield) games. Nevermind you can actually browse with pure android etc. It's a 5in tablet for all intents and purposes with touch for keyboard input. Consider it a 5in nexus...LOL. Most likely break even or profit on just 100K units.
    http://www.sonyps4news.com/2013/03/06/nintendo-fast-losing-developer-support-sonys-consoles-remain-firm/
    2500 developers took the survey on the way in. Shield has already won...ROFL.

    Note also all the games are under 20 and the reason 60% are going to make games for android is 1B units to sell to that revamp every year for more power! You only have 7mil Vita owners and only 35mil 3DS to shoot at with your game. Game dev costs on the 3DS have tripled from last gen also at 1.8mil roughly. On vita that means you have to sell to more than 10% of the userbase or your game loses money. On 3DS you have better odds, but nowhere near the audience of the ENTIRE android base that sells 1B units per year tablet+phone and all those games coming play on shield as it runs vanilla android. All the apps run too. Everything on googlepay or tegrazone runs. Streaming PC to it, or miracasted to TV is just icing on the cake (or hdmi out to any tv). 720p will look like very good on TV, and your Vita/3DS can't do that either. Couple that with your PC's gpu and you can get better visuals on your TV than a Xbox1/PS4 can put on TV at 1080p. When 4K tv's are the norm your shield can put your your maxwell's gpu to TV next year...LOL.

    No these won't sell at all. They suck. /sarcasm.

    Every single one has the potential to sell a gpu also. I mean a huge feature here is getting the PC gpu to the TV. So it should sell a good number of PC gpus.

    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-02/20/playstation-vita-failure
    Vita is already dead as the dev survey shows. This will be a 3DS vs. Shield war and I don't even think that will last too long vs. All of android sales per year to shoot at. When you make a game for android, it's not just for shield. It's for 1Billion users already. That's a market nearly 30x the size of 3DS, and around 145x the size of Vita's market. Only a retard would make a game for EITHER of those FIRST before making one for android today. The smart device market is expected to be over 2.4B units in the next few years. This is NO CONTEST even today, and is surely a "you might as well not even show up to play" contest in the future...LOL.

    I'm not sure you understand Shield's advantages here. The 720p res makes it a powerhouse also. I'm glad they didn't strap it with 1080p as that would limit it's futureproof-ness. At 720p it should be able to power some monster games that come out. It has the gpu power of ipad4 but at FAR lower res to push. This thing crushes Vita/3DS in specs and features. The size of the android market will ensure TONS of games vs. vita (which can't get anyone to make a game for) or 3ds (which also sucks). Less than 5% of devs plan anything for either vs. 60% for mobile. Do the math. Vita/3DS are dead. I'd say the same for WIIU based on dev interest (6%?...LOL). Can a Vita or 3DS put a 1080p ripped movie on your TV? NOPE. Bam, portable 1080p movie player with hdmi or miracast out in or out of the house. Portable netflix...LOL. This thing has so many more uses than a Vita/3DS for $50-100 extra it's ridiculous. Did I mention you don't have to wait years for games etc to come out. Check out googleplay store.

    The games & apps are already there and with S4 selling 10mil/month and expected 100mil there are plenty of top end devices to shoot at and every year more devices will be able to match or beat S4's perf. Games will only get better and they can all do hdmi or miracast out to tv from here forward. Who would you Dev a game for? I would dev for T4/A330 style now and everyone will catch up next year even on low end devices. Heck ouya will have T4 next year (they said they'll rev yearly). You could aim at just the S4 now and have 100mil units to sell to in another 9 months...ROFL. Next year 500mil-1Billion could handle S4's graphics. That same game will run on T4/A330/Rogue6 etc fine. Great times for game devs ahead even little INDIE devs can make good money.
  • 1 Hide
    teh_chem , June 6, 2013 5:55 AM
    Quote:
    Man, I love Nvidia, but what freaking morons do they have making decisions for them? They just spent God knows how much developing and producing those PoS Shields that will not sell and are priced at $350.

    Even if Shield doesn't sell, it doesn't matter. Nvidia usually makes reference design devices that will use its processors (notably its Tegra series) as a demo/proof-of-concept; this is necessary to demonstrate capability of their processor designs before anyone decides to buy them for their own devices. Developing Shield isn't much more of a loss than any other time they've developed a Tegra platform, especially since Shield is basically just a skinned Android device running on T4, like most other devices that will be using T4.

    Quote:
    When they could have took that money to make their own brands of gaming oriented smartphones, something that is guaranteed to sell, for ~$700 a pop. And they lost out on hardware support for next gen consoles. AMD is on their heels in Video cards and will probably overtake them due to all the consoles running off AMD tech. Intel will have to buy them out when they go bankrupt.


    Not sure if you read the whole article, but they said exactly why Nividia has no interest in making their own phone or tablet--because that market is already saturated by devices, and they would have no advantage entering now. Moreover, a "gaming" phone is a niche item and there is no indication anyone would even want one. But there is at least an established handheld/portable gaming market that exists already, and is a lot smaller with fewer competitors, so they feel they'd have a better shot. So they're more likely to consider buying companies with that capability of making and marketing such a device. Not that this specific situation would or could happen, but think of it like nivida buying nintendo, who already has a presence in the mobile gaming market.

    Or they could be interested in buying technologies that would augment the Shield capabilities, like streaming games directly from a Kepler-based desktop PC.