ZTE Corporation said on Wednesday that it will be the first to launch "super phones" based on Nvidia's Tegra 4 SoC. The first models will reach the Chinese market in the first half of 2013, delivering improved app load times, realistic gaming experiences, great battery life and more thanks to the new chip's 72 custom GeForce cores and quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU.
The new "super phones" follow previous collaborations between ZTE and Nvidia including the Grand X, which features both a Tegra SoC and Nvidia's Icera modem, and the just-launched Tegra 3-laced Grand Era (Hong Kong). They also brought to the market the very first premium quad-core smartphone priced below $160 USD, the ZTE U950, which packs Nvidia's speedy Tegra 3 chip.
"We’re proud to continue our pioneering partnership with Nvidia and are looking forward to offering more Tegra-powered devices, which are defining a new generation of phones offering premium mobile computing experiences,” said Mr. He Shiyou, ZTE EVP and Head of the Terminal Division. "Our Tegra 4 smartphones will provide full HD entertainment and multimedia experiences that consumers will love."
ZTE said that part of its "super phone" wave includes a Tegra 4 solution that will use Nvidia's optional i500 processor for worldwide 4G LTE voice and data support. Based on a unique software-defined radio (SDR) technology, Nvidia calls this modem "future proof", delivering 100 Megabits per second out of the box, plus software-upgradeability to 150 Mbps LTE, carrier aggregation, and TD LTE.
"Icera has unique soft modem technology which implements the entire modem baseband in software," said Nvidia's Phil Carmack in a blog on Tuesday. "This approach is particularly suited to the modem due to the adaptive nature of the wireless cellular environment. It allows the modem to dynamically allocate more processing resources to the most challenging processing functions required at any given time, making it much more efficient than traditional hardware-centric implementations."
He added that the modem's roadmap can be extended with feature upgrades and performance enhancements through software updates. This is even more beneficial for SoC's with an embedded Icera modem by "delivering the cost-reduction benefits the SoC brings without having to compromise on feature capabilities and performance enhancements."
As for ZTE's "super phone" lineup featuring Nvidia's Tegra 4 SoC, there's no indication that they'll make it to the States. ZTE is no stranger to the North American smartphone market, and a T-Mobile-branded ZTE Grand X was just seen at the FCC back in December. That said, there's a good chance we'll see at least one of these units locally before the end of the year.