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Nvidia Open to Acquisitions, Not Tablets, Smartphones

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.