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Did NVIDIA Win Over

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The Kindle Fire has just barely reached the market, but all eyes are already on what (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) may have in store next.

The readily apparent theme of the first Kindle Fire's iFixit teardown was that Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN  ) was the big winner as a supplier of numerous bits and pieces. The device shares a lot of innards with the Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) PlayBook since both are assembled by third-party manufacturer Quanta.

There's a lot of consensus that the Kindle Fire 2, codenamed "Hollywood," will feature a larger screen that may compete more directly with Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPad, possibly as large as 10 inches. Boy Genius Report had exclusively reported earlier in the year that it would feature NVIDIA's (Nasdaq: NVDA  ) quad-core Tegra 3, according to its "tipster."

The latest hint that hopes to confirm that rumbling is a research note from Canaccord Genuity analyst Bobby Burleson, who cites "conversations with sources in the tablet supply chain." Burleson also pegs the screen size at 8.9 inches, up from the current 7-inch display. He also adds that "a win or loss in the next gen Fire could be seen as a proxy for [Texas Instruments'] overall apps processor potential in higher-end tablets."

There are really only two possible contenders here: NVIDIA and Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM  ) . The next-generation Kindle Fire -- can a Fool ponder if it will be called the Blaze or the Inferno? -- is thought to make an appearance as early as the first quarter of 2012 sporting a quad-core processor. That's a mere one to four months from now.

NVIDIA is the first ARM Holdings (Nasdaq: ARMH  ) -based chip maker to ship a quad-core mobile CPU, although Qualcomm has previously said its quad-core Snapdragons should be available to gadget makers by year's end and in consumers' hands in early 2012. Apple's next processor, presumably dubbed the A6, is expected to sport four cores, but good luck getting any official info out of Cupertino.

TI has all but ditched quad-core mobile chips amid doubts over cost and temperature. It wouldn't be surprising if it starts to lose mobile ground as a result of that decision, in line with Burleson's proxy statement above.

This rumor has some serious legs to stand on, and NVIDIA's mobile strategy is one reason I'm bullish on the chip maker. In all likelihood, the next-gen Kindle Fire is about to enter production ahead of an early 2012 launch.

Add and NVIDIA to your watchlist to keep up with the next Kindle Fire. Get access to this free report on the mobile revolution and why it's going to be huge.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of, ARM Holdings, and Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple,, and NVIDIA; writing puts in NVIDIA; and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2011, at 5:06 PM, makelvin wrote:

    "TI has all but ditched quad-core mobile chips amid doubts over cost and temperature. It wouldn't be surprising if it starts to lose mobile ground as a result of that decision..."

    This statement is both true and false. It is true that TI's OMAP 5 does not have 4 identical CPU cores, but it is false that it does not have 4 CPU cores. This is because the OMAP 5 has two high performance Cortex A15 cores and two low power Cortex M4 cores. This combination would result in substantially lower power usage for mobile devices.

    A typical program and/or task at different time have different performance requirements. When high performance is not required, it is better off to hand that over to a lower power consumption processor.

    Without having a full understanding of the overall system requirement and simply rule out TI's new OMAP processor is both simplistic and ignorant about the technology. In mobile devices, its power consumption is as important as its raw computational performance. Striking a fine balance is an art. This is something that you clearly have very little understanding of in order to make such an assumption.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2011, at 7:08 PM, jwtrotter wrote:

    Good points but if you use the same logic, Nvidia's Tegra 3 would then be a quint-core and thus would also seemingly be a step ahead of TI in the general architecture of the chip. In fact, the processing power capacity of the Tegra 3 would also be greater then the OMAP 5 because four high performance chips would seemingly exceed two high performance chips, etc. I'm sure the OMAP 5 is a solid chip for mobile devices but they are losing the PR battle by not claiming even the quad now and they could getaway with it . . though again, Nvidia could just as easily reassert the 5 cores too.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2011, at 10:28 PM, TMFNewCow wrote:


    Nice rebuttal, saves me some energy. It's also appreciated that you're cordial and respectful while disagreeing with makelvin.

    -- Evan

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2011, at 9:16 AM, investorak wrote:

    i hate people like evan who talk a lot but have no idea what they are talking about..

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2011, at 9:46 AM, TMFNewCow wrote:

    Thanks for the kind words, investorak. Care to elaborate beyond an overgeneralized statement? At least makelvin had some valid points to acknowledge in his presumptuous criticism.

    -- Evan

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2011, at 10:58 AM, jpanspac wrote:

    Do these tablet OSes even have the capability to run more than one core simultaneously? I don't know, but I doubt it.

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