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Nvidia CEO: No Mobile Strategy Means "Deep Turd"

By - Source: CNET | B 22 comments

Nvidia's CEO this week talked about the company's primary focus on its Tegra processor and the mobile sector, and said that companies without a mobile strategy are in "deep turd." Mmm tasty.

Tuesday Nvidia president and chief executive officer Jen-Hsun Huang said that a vast majority of the company's revenue will be generated by its mobile processor business and not its long-standing graphics card division. In fact, revenue from Nvidia's mobile chip arm is expected to grow to $20 billion by 2015 – its PC-based GPU business will only grow to $7 billion in the same timeframe.

Those numbers speak volumes about where the industry focus is pointing. Nvidia, a company that literally helped transform the desktop and laptop sectors over the last two decades, is looking to the mobile sector for most of its income, seemingly mirroring the game industry's focus on consoles (rather than PC gaming) because that's where most consumers are spending their money.

"If you don't have a mobile strategy, you're in deep turd," Huang said. "If you're not in mobile processors now, you're seven years too late."

Does this mean the desktop sector will eventually die? Based on previous reports, Nvidia has said that there will always be a market for the enthusiast who wants top-of-the-line hardware that pumps out picture-perfect graphics at 60 frames per second. And while we'd like to believe that these consumers are what drives the industry forward, the shift to mobile computing speaks otherwise. Still, as Huang points out, cameras in smartphones didn't kill off the digital-SLR business – they only drove the need for higher picture capture capabilities.

Seemingly propelling the mobile market is Google's Android OS. Speaking to a roundtable of reporters on Tuesday, Huang said that Android-based tablets will make up half of the market in four years despite their slow start, achieving the same market saturation as Android-based phones. Tegra chips are already installed in half of the high-end Android smartphones and 70-percent of the Android tablets. Yet there's still an addressable market of 100 million devices that need mobile processors this year alone, a number which is expected to balloon to around 1 billion by 2015.

"The future for computing is visual and mobile, and we are well positioned to lead in this new era," Huang said Tuesday after the company said that it anticipates revenue of $4.7 billion to $5.0 billion in fiscal year 2013, which begins Jan. 30, 2012. Company growth is expected to be fueled by additional mass-market smartphones, computers running on more efficient ARM chips, and the saturation of energy-efficient ultra-thin notebooks in the coming years.

Right now Nvidia sees Qualcomm as the only competitor, the only other "person actively on the dance floor." Now that HP has divided up its webOS division, the global OEM doesn't appear to have a clear mobile strategy. Intel isn't considered much of a threat either given that the company has chosen to stay within its x86 roots while most of the smartphones and tablets available on the market are based on ARM's licensed architecture (and mobile applications are written based on ARM's instruction set).

"They're speaking the wrong language," he said. "We're not worried about them at all."

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  • 16 Hide
    doron , September 8, 2011 10:51 AM
    When I see quotes from this CEO I always get the feeling that he's a complete idiot.. Probably not but still..

    On topic, I believe that since the mobile sector is getting more and more saturated it would be wiser for AMD and Intel to do just what they seem to be doing: Optimize their current line of cpus towards better architecture and power efficiency and creep down safely into the mobile world. That way they'll be less threatened by arm when they go up to the more performance-oriented server and consumer market and lay stronger foundations on their entire business.

    The fact that you're first into something doesn't mean you're better.
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , September 8, 2011 11:21 AM
    It's quite dangerous to underestimate a potential competitor 1000 times as rich as Nvidia is. If Intel wants to be relevant in the mobile sector I don't see what will be in their path - certainly not nvidia which it could purchase any day btw.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , September 8, 2011 12:51 PM
    I don't see why people think these numbers mean the death of the desktop. Desktops are fairly ubiquitous in the US now, so it's not like they have much expansion left there. The mobile market is developing so fast they can milk money out of that for a while. Just because one market can expand does not mean other markets will die...
Other Comments
  • 16 Hide
    doron , September 8, 2011 10:51 AM
    When I see quotes from this CEO I always get the feeling that he's a complete idiot.. Probably not but still..

    On topic, I believe that since the mobile sector is getting more and more saturated it would be wiser for AMD and Intel to do just what they seem to be doing: Optimize their current line of cpus towards better architecture and power efficiency and creep down safely into the mobile world. That way they'll be less threatened by arm when they go up to the more performance-oriented server and consumer market and lay stronger foundations on their entire business.

    The fact that you're first into something doesn't mean you're better.
  • 8 Hide
    Thunderfox , September 8, 2011 10:52 AM
    Intel's process technology may eventually make x86 viable in mobile devices, but it's questionable whether its performance superiority will ever matter enough to make it necessary. Intel can obviously beat Arm clock for clock, but at what power cost?

    Just because you can make a working x86 phone or tablet doesn't mean it will run as cool or as long as an arm device, and the average user cares a lot more about that than the internals of these sorts of devices.
  • 4 Hide
    Archean , September 8, 2011 11:11 AM
    Absolutely true doron, but all those ABs playing idiots just don't understand what the word 'performance' actually means.
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , September 8, 2011 11:21 AM
    It's quite dangerous to underestimate a potential competitor 1000 times as rich as Nvidia is. If Intel wants to be relevant in the mobile sector I don't see what will be in their path - certainly not nvidia which it could purchase any day btw.
  • 7 Hide
    SchizoFrog , September 8, 2011 11:29 AM
    Thunderfoxthe average user cares a lot more about that than the internals of these sorts of devices.

    Are you sure about that? Last time I looked everyone seemed to have been fairly busy playing 'Angry Birds' on their 3 hour lasting smartphones rather than playing 'Snake' on an old Nokia that lasted for days or even weeks.

    It's all about the latest gimic with mobile phones and always have been which is why they took off with the 'Yuppies' of the eighties in the first place. They didn't need them but they thought it made them 'look good'... Even Del Boy got one.
    If the latest and great gimics can run on x86 and ARM can't keep up, the market will switch once again. It is a fickle beast after all...
  • 2 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 8, 2011 11:44 AM
    nVidia needs the mobile market seeing as it has lost the console market totally, AMD have dominated there and will continue to do so.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , September 8, 2011 12:51 PM
    I don't see why people think these numbers mean the death of the desktop. Desktops are fairly ubiquitous in the US now, so it's not like they have much expansion left there. The mobile market is developing so fast they can milk money out of that for a while. Just because one market can expand does not mean other markets will die...
  • 3 Hide
    vaughn2k , September 8, 2011 12:52 PM
    "They're speaking the wrong language," he said. "We're not worried about them at all."
    - But you're moving slow, isn't it?
  • 7 Hide
    thrasher32 , September 8, 2011 1:08 PM
    In other news, Steve Balmer today said that anyone who doesn't like Windows 7 is "a total duty-head poo-poo face".
  • 0 Hide
    hoofhearted , September 8, 2011 1:10 PM
    In the word of Beavis and Butthead "heh heh hehhehe He said turd hehheh hehheh hehheh"
  • 1 Hide
    alidan , September 8, 2011 1:11 PM
    ThunderfoxIntel's process technology may eventually make x86 viable in mobile devices, but it's questionable whether its performance superiority will ever matter enough to make it necessary. Intel can obviously beat Arm clock for clock, but at what power cost? Just because you can make a working x86 phone or tablet doesn't mean it will run as cool or as long as an arm device, and the average user cares a lot more about that than the internals of these sorts of devices.


    by the time that we have an x86 viable phone, batteries to support a day or so full use will be around, remember, tech uses power, but batteries also get more powerfull as time gos on.
  • 3 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 8, 2011 1:18 PM
    For every smartphone and tablet, you will typically need a PC to sync your new content or do updates.

    Sure you can download music, TV shows and movies over the air, but that will kill your data plan.

    Also you will have a copy of all your content on your PC hard drives, anyone that stores their entire music collection on a single device that can be dropped in a toilet or be stolen must be the stupidest person EVAR!

    Cloud storage? Err, please refer to data plan being rinsed again.
  • 2 Hide
    figgus , September 8, 2011 1:27 PM
    alidanby the time that we have an x86 viable phone, batteries to support a day or so full use will be around, remember, tech uses power, but batteries also get more powerfull as time gos on.


    You can have the best batteries in the world, but if a processor dissipates 125w (or even 25w) of power as heat then it's not going to be very useful in a phone.
  • 2 Hide
    doron , September 8, 2011 1:45 PM
    ArcheanAbsolutely true doron, but all those ABs playing idiots just don't understand what the word 'performance' actually means.


    I agree, but just in case they do, or in case Intel proves to be a viable player in the mobile sector and beats Nvidia in both marketing (gonna be hard but if someone can do it, it's Intel) and process technology, then since Nvidia so eagerly rushed towards where the "money" is, we can already see the effects of all the resources nvidia throws on mobile chip development at the expense of graphics card development and performance per dollar. They will probably have nowhere to return.
  • 2 Hide
    lazymangaka , September 8, 2011 2:14 PM
    The mobile sector is all well and good, but I certainly believe we're going to see a point in the next year or two where the entire industry hits a major wall. The technology will either stop evolving meaningfully, or the consumer base will reach a sort of soft cap when everyone who wants a smartphone or a tablet will more or less have one. There will still be growth, but nothing like the unchecked growth we've seen up until this point.

    At least with PC hobbyists, you have a reasonably predictable base. Some will upgrade yearly (or more) and most will upgrade at least every other year. And now that we're seeing entry level CPUs with integrated GPUs capabable of something even resembling gaming, I would imagine that you're going to see a new influx of players into the market. They'll get the first taste with something low-cost, then upgrade from there.
  • 1 Hide
    lazymangaka , September 8, 2011 6:34 PM
    ZingamSmartphones and tablets have 2 years lifespan while you could use your latop for 5 years straight and your desktop even much longer. Especially now when CPUs are so powerful and if you do not listen to Microsoft and do not upgrade each time when a new Windows comes out, you could use your PC for 7-8 years.Smartphones just get destroyed within 2 years and most break within that time.


    It's fair to say that about smartphones, but the longevity of tablets is still in question. They simply haven't been part of mainstream consumer electronics long enough to establish a good sense of their usable lifespan.

    With smartphones, however, I'm curious how many people replace a broken smartphone with another smartphone. Assuming it's outside of any sort of warranty, most consumers with major US cellular plans would have to pay 100% out-of-pocket for a new phone before their contract expires, so I can certainly see many opting for a cheaper phone in the interim.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , September 8, 2011 7:12 PM
    People are always quick to question "does xx mean the death of yy".

    But just as Kevin pointed out, the proliferation of quality point-and-shoot and camera sensors in mobile phones didn't kill the dSLR market. Indeed no two industry is alike, but just because more people have mobile devices does not mean they'll abandon the desktop entirely.

    In that said mobile industry, nvidia has been doing quite well in my opinion. They have managed to develop Tegra, a brilliant piece of work that really pushed smartphones further.
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , September 8, 2011 8:14 PM
    lazymangakaThe mobile sector is all well and good, but I certainly believe we're going to see a point in the next year or two where the entire industry hits a major wall. The technology will either stop evolving meaningfully, or the consumer base will reach a sort of soft cap when everyone who wants a smartphone or a tablet will more or less have one. There will still be growth, but nothing like the unchecked growth we've seen up until this point. At least with PC hobbyists, you have a reasonably predictable base. Some will upgrade yearly (or more) and most will upgrade at least every other year. And now that we're seeing entry level CPUs with integrated GPUs capabable of something even resembling gaming, I would imagine that you're going to see a new influx of players into the market. They'll get the first taste with something low-cost, then upgrade from there.


    Read the prologue to John Michael Crichton's (Michael Crichton) book "Timeline" in which he talks about how scientists once thought they knew almost everything they would ever really know and then it was discovered that the world was round. He goes on to list things like the electron microscope that then took us into a much better understanding of the human body and changed medicine forever. He then ends his thoughts with the idea that once again we are on a brink of thinking we know a lot, and how science is developing faster and faster still - who knows what we will discover next? I for one, still have a hard time having conversations on my HTC 4G LTE cellular phone. The sound quality/microphone both suck. People foresee walls all the time, but the beauty of human ingenuity means that we can travel to the moon and beyond.
  • 1 Hide
    waethorn , September 8, 2011 8:14 PM
    I'd like to know what AMD's take is on NVIDIA not producing chipsets that aren't wholy defective.

    NVIDIA is one of the solely responsible parties of all of the HP DV#000 and DV# systems having boards that crapped out en masse in the last few years.

    This is why Intel didn't want NVIDIA making chipsets for their platform anymore, and why NVIDIA now only licenses the technology. It's also one of the reasons why HP is getting out the PC business. I don't see any DV6000 systems that still work anymore. The problem is probably just as, if not more, severe than "Capacitor-gate" of the first half of the last decade.
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , September 8, 2011 8:16 PM
    If the USAF made press statements like the CEO of NVidia I'd have to considering going AWOL. "Turd"? I'm sorry, I graduated kindergarten. Can you speak my "adult" language? Thanks.
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