Nvidia CEO Huang Outlines Smartphone Strategy In Battling Intel - InformationWeek

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Nvidia CEO Huang Outlines Smartphone Strategy In Battling Intel

The graphics chipmaker's mobile strategy revolves around the smartphone, which "will become the next personal computer," said CEO Jen-Hsun Huang at Nvidia's Nvision 2008 conference.

Nvidia chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang believes the smartphone represents the "second personal computing revolution," and he has made the device a key target as the graphics chipmaker gears up to battle Intel in the mobile market.

Huang, who is also president and co-founder of Nvidia, met with reporters Monday on the inaugural day of Nvidia's Nvision 2008 conference in the company's hometown of San Jose, Calif. While Huang touched upon a number of topics, one focus was Nvidia's growing competition with Intel.

In the mobile arena, Nvidia has Tegra, an all-in-one integrated graphics system on a chip, and Intel has Atom, its smallest processor that was designed from the ground up for mobile devices.

Both products are capable of driving many different gadgets that tap the Internet, but the smartphone, which has entered the spotlight with the popularity of Apple's iPhone, is where Huang sees the real action.

"Our strategy with mobile is to completely focus on the smartphone," he said. "We believe that the smartphone will become the next personal computer. This is clearly going to be the second personal computer revolution."

In battling Intel and others, such as Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Broadcom, and Samsung Electronics, Nvidia plans to align itself with VIA Technologies, which makes the Nano CPU. Combining Nano with Tegra, which includes a GeForce graphics processing unit, is part of Nvidia's plan to bring "world-class computing technology" to the smartphone.

"We think that computing needs to be far better on mobile devices," Huang said. "Today's devices are phone first, computing second. We think they need to be computing first, phone second."

Huang said optimizing Nvidia technology for the Nano is the "number one" priority for the graphics chipmaker in mobile computing. In addition, Nvidia plans to provide compatibility testing for software makers.

Nvidia isn't likely to stop with the Nano, however. Any chipset that Nvidia builds for Via's processor could also run with Atom, since both CPUs are x86. Therefore, it's possible that Nvidia could release a chipset compatible with the Atom in the near future.

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