This day has been a long time coming for chipmaker NVIDIA
Back in May of last year, the company announced that it was acquiring British baseband specialist Icera for a hefty $367 million, which was NVIDIA's largest purchase ever. The ultimate end goal for the purchase was clear: integrating a baseband directly into its Tegra line of mobile processors. Rival Qualcomm
The company has now announced the first smartphone whose core processing capabilities are powered solely by NVIDIA chips, using a dual-core Tegra 2 processor and an NVIDIA Icera modem that includes baseband and RF processors. The device is the ZTE Mimosa X, which runs Google Android 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich, and is slated for a second-quarter launch.
Source: NVIDIA press release. ZTE Mimosa X.
Scoring this win is a solid milestone for NVIDIA, as for the first time it will provide both the applications processor and the baseband modem, leveraging the Icera acquisition. The two components are still discrete and are yet to be integrated, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.
Several months after the Icera news last year, NVIDIA laid out its roadmap for its Tegra chips, complete with their super-powered monikers. For NVIDIA, this year will be predominantly a quad-core Tegra 3 affair, codenamed "Kal-El" after Superman. Next up is "Wayne," as in Bruce Wayne, but then comes "Grey," for X-Men's Jean Grey.
Grey will be the first Tegra chip to fully integrate Icera baseband technology and is scheduled for release late this year, complete with 3G and 4G LTE capabilities. Qualcomm won't be sitting still, though, as it's also aiming for integrated 4G LTE in its Snapdragons this year, while it's long had 3G integration down pat.
That day for an integrated baseband is an even longer time coming for NVIDIA, but it'll be momentous when it does.
For even more on how to play the mobile revolution, don't miss this new special free report on "The Next Trillion-Dollar Revolution." It promises to be the biggest revolution in computing in generations, and it's one you definitely don't want to be left out of. Get access to this free report now.
Fool contributor Evan Niu has sold bullish put spreads on Qualcomm, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Qualcomm and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of NVIDIA and Google and writing puts in NVIDIA. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.
More from The Motley Fool
3 Top Chip Stocks to Buy in 2018
These three semiconductor companies can deliver upside even after a strong run last year.
Better Buy: Intel Corporation vs. NVIDIA
The two companies are vying for processor dominance.
Can NVIDIA and AMD Keep Riding the Cryptocurrency Wave?
Cryptocurrency mining could continue being a catalyst for GPU sales despite certain concerns.