As the computing, consumer and communications worlds converge it is not surprising that companies that have been hyper-successful in the PC and consumer space are salivating over a handheld market that easily numbers in the hundreds of millions.
nVidia has see the cell phone's future and it is applications processors.
Besides a new perspective on the basic silicon architecture inside a cell phone, nVidia brings a different mindset to the market as well: Faster design turnsmuch faster.
Although we see new cell phone models in short product cycles, the design cycle for a completely new architecture is about three years. The reason: Designing silicon for new signaling protocol is very complex.
nVidia is promoting the dis-integration of baseband processing from the applications in a way that it believes is unique.
Instead of three years, phones could be given a total makeover in a year (except for the baseband, of course).
By hardwiring multimedia acceleration, nVidia also claims to be able to deliver radically lower power consumption (which is an absolute must if you are going to be using your all-in-one device by the hour instead of by the minute for, say, watching a video).
It's an apps processor so the performance is world class as well. But that's not a surprise.
nVidia is also committed to open systems and third-party software developers, which is not entirely new. But it's not talked about all that much in the cell phone industry right now either.
All in all, it's an interesting perspective that hasn't gotten as much attention as it probably deserves. We'll be looking at it closer in the next month or so.
More information is available at www.nvidia.com/page/goforce_6100.html.