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Nvidia's Tegra Cost So Far: $2 Billion

In Nvidia's case, Tegra raked up a cost of more than $2 billion over the past five years, Huang said.

The cost for developing such a chip is likely to go up over time, Huang said, and is driven by an approach to come up with "something magical" and "unexpected" in every product generation. For example, while Kal-El will be moving to four cores, with one additional supporting core, the cores in the succeeding product generation will offer more performance and there will be a feature that catches Nvidia's rivals "off-guard", the executive said.

He also speculated that, as tablet and smartphone markets expand, they may segment and there may be reasons for companies such as Apple to actually buy third-party processors that accommodate the requirements of those segments.