This just in: NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA ) is getting Tegra-based smartphones on store shelves -- and they look really good.
The LG Optimus 2x will feature a dual-core Tegra 2 processor front and center, pushing smartphone performance to the next level. That unique advantage won't last long, of course -- Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN ) recently announced its own two-core OMAP processor lineup and Marvell Technology Group (Nasdaq: MRVL ) has had its triple-processor chip ready for a while. It's just that NVIDIA's next-generation chip is the first to make it into retail products.
Analyst reports also show Samsung supposedly placing large Tegra 2 orders for its upcoming smartphones and tablets, which would be a huge vote of confidence in NVIDIA's technology from a company that also makes its own high-speed mobile processors. Moreover, Tegra 2 might be the reference design for the next version of the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) Android platform -- the tablet-focused Honeycomb.
The stars are aligning for NVIDIA to become a major player in mobile computing. Meanwhile, its traditional bread-and-butter business in graphics processors for laptops and desktops is suffering from manufacturing problems, delayed releases, and tough-as-nails competition from both Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) and Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD ) .
If current trends continue, it won't be long before NVIDIA's old graphics powerhouse image becomes a mere memory, replaced by a larger role in mobile computing. Given how sales for tablets and high-end phones are shaping up in comparison to boring old computers, that's not necessarily a bad thing for NVIDIA.
Oh, and before you get too excited about the Optimus 2x, I need to tell you that it's coming to Korea in January with select European and Asian markets to follow -- no mention of North America. Then again, equally powerful or even better phones and tablets are bound to show up here shortly, and some of them should have Tegra 2 inside.
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