NVIDIA is hardly a stranger in the realm of mobile technology: in addition to the recently unveiled Tegra 4 mobile processor, which will be used to power a portable gaming console and a mysterious 10-inch tablet from Vizio, the company’s quad-core, ARM based Tegra 3 is currently known to be applied to a number of notable mobile devices, including those made by HTC, Asus, Acer, and Microsoft. Just days ago, rumor has it that NVIDIA is interested in not only furthering the adoption of its mobile chip, but also in fulfilling another ambitious, lofty goal: to create its own tablets and smartphones.
As the reports from Unwired View and TechCrunch indicate, NVIDIA’s plan is to come up with white label reference designs for OEMs, who would then help to distribute the finished products under their own brand names. Such a strategy, similar to what NVIDIA does with its graphics cards, comes with various benefits. For one, the company gets the freedom to dictate its own hardware settings, which, according to Unwired, can be tailored to suit the needs of the Tegra processor, in turn allowing it to perform up to its full potential. By getting in touch with various low-cost manufacturing partners, NVIDIA will also enjoy the benefit of producing components on a massive scale, and be able to charge its smartphones and tablets at competitive prices. Mobile Review suggests that the fastest we can expect to see NVIDIA-designed tablets is during May or June of 2013. By then, it is speculated that NVIDIA will have a number of 7 and 10-inch varieties on the market.
Where NVIDIA will go about finding its partners, along with who will ultimately end up distributing its products, will be particularly interesting to see. Unwired View suggests the company already has its eyes set on lesser known regional players from Russia and India, which include OEMs like Fly, Wexler, Micromax, and Lava. NASDAQ, on the other hand, believes NVIDIA will target local, second-tiered Chinese brands who are trying to find their way in the increasingly competitive mobile market. It is not necessarily unlikely for bigger names to be involved in the future, although, given the lack of information, the potential candidates would be difficult to pinpoint at this time.
The average prices of tablets and smartphones have been going on a general decline for some time, in large part because of the increasingly crowded nature of the market, the rise of interest in emerging countries, and the popularity of affordable smartphone/tablet models from the likes of Google, Amazon, Acer, and various other Chinese brands. If NVIDIA does in fact go with the “white-label” manufacturer route and, against all odds, succeed, one can reasonably expect the pricing downtrend for mid-to-high end mobile products to persist.