NVIDIA's Tegra 4 Just Bagged Its First Smartphone Win... in China

Heads up, China! NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA  ) wants to show you what its Tegra 4 can do.

Of course, the Tegra 4 has already found a home in various tablets from the likes of Asus, Toshiba, and HP, but yesterday Chinese mobile device specialist Xiaomi announced it will include the innovative new processor in its latest flagship Mi3 smartphone.

NVIDIA stock, Mi3 smartphone

Xiaomi Mi3 Smartphone. Image source: NVIDIA

Two firsts...
So why does this matter?

In short, this not only marks the first time Xiaomi and NVIDIA have teamed up, but the Mi3 also represents the first-ever smartphone to officially incorporate the Tegra 4 processor into its design.

Both companies are understandably excited about the partnership, and Xiaomi's founding CEO Lei Jun weighed in:

The Mi3 with Tegra 4 provides an amazing experience that consumers will absolutely love. We wanted it to be fantastic, and that's why we partnered with NVIDIA. Tegra 4 provides performance and features never before seen in a smartphone.

Fantastic indeed; in addition to the Tegra 4 -- which NVIDIA's specs page lists as running four CPU cores at 1.9 GHz, a fifth companion core for low-intensity tasks, and 72 custom GPU cores -- the Mi3 also boasts a 5-inch 1080p display, 2 GB RAM, and up to 64 GB of storage.

Come to think of it, I'm fairly sure the Mi3 could trounce my last desktop PC in most performance tests. 

Best of all for NVIDIA, however, is that the Mi3 will make its debut on China Mobile's enormous network of roughly 745 million subscribers this October.

Definitely not the last... 
But before you go wondering whether this will be a one-off event, remember NVIDIA management told us way back in February the Tegra 4 already had more design wins than Tegra 3 had in total, and that was even before they surprised everybody by unveiling the Tegra 4i, which stands as NVIDIA's first fully integrated 4G LTE processor.

Then again, remember as of a few weeks ago the Tegra 4i was still undergoing certification with a number of leading mobile carriers, a process which NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said should likely conclude near the end of this year.

When that happens, it's fair to expect NVIDIA's number of smartphone wins should spike as performance-hungry electronics manufacturers take a closer look . 

But without the convenient, high-performance Tegra 4i in play, the market still largely belongs to more established players in the space like Qualcomm  (NASDAQ: QCOM  )  and its competing Snapdragon 800 chips, which most recently won an enviable place at the center of Samsung's latest Galaxy S4 smartphone variant. 

Nonetheless, today's Tegra 4 win should rightly breed optimism that NVIDIA can continue to hold its own quite well regardless of whether it can offer manufacturers the added convenience of an integrated LTE modem. And that, my fellow Fools, should have the folks at Qualcomm sweating buckets.

That's why, with shares of NVIDIA trading at a reasonable 16.5 times last year's earnings -- a multiple which drops to 11 times when you back out the company's enormous $2.9 billion cash pile -- I have no intention of letting go of my NVIDIA shares anytime soon.

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