If you're in a war, it helps to have Superman on your side. NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA ) said yesterday at an investor conference that it has begun shipping its quad-core mobile chip and that tablets based on the design should be available in time for the holiday shopping season.
Code-named "Kal-El," after the birth name of the fictional superhero, the newest Tegra chip is designed to give makers of Android phones and tablets an edge over Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPad and would-be rivals from Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) and Asian manufacturers.
CEO Jen-Hsun Huang seems confident, betting big on Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) operating system, using his speech at the conference to give fiscal 2013 revenue guidance that was well ahead of Street forecasts. NVIDIA now expects $4.7 billion to $5 billion in sales. Analysts had been calling for $4.45 billion.
The implication? NVIDIA sees a huge market for Android devices. Huang, in particular, said he expects Android tabs to get more functional and grab 50% of the overall market by 2015, trade magazine eWEEK reported.
NVIDIA is also planning on supplying Tegra designs to makers of Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Windows 8 tablet. Add it up, and you've got a chip maker that's trying to be to tablets what Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) has been to PCs. Or as Huang put it: "Aside from the two of us, there's really not too many people actively on the dance floor ... It's mostly us and Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM ) competing for most of the slots."
Gauntlet dropped. Good luck, Mr. Huang. This battle is going to get interesting.
Do you agree? Disagree? Please weigh in using the comments box below. You can also keep tabs on the mobile chip market by adding these companies to your Foolish watchlist: