Jump-starting Nvidia’s Tegra SoC

Nvidia’s ARM-based Tegra SoC has racked up a number of smartphone and tablet design wins, although clearly not as much as the company had originally anticipated.

Indeed, it seems as if Nvidia may be having some difficulty competing with Qualcomm on the high-end and Mediatek on the low-end.

According to Mobile Review’s Eldar Murtazin, Nvidia is hoping to alter the current paradigm by developing Tegra-powered reference designs for the masses.

“They will contract manufacture cheap white label devices for others to sell under their own brands. Those others? Small regional players that until now have been pushing cheap and low quality Chinese made tablets and phones in local markets,” Murtazin explained.

“By designing and manufacturing the end products itself, Nvidia gets the opportunity to fully control the features and performance of devices, while assuring the high quality of the end product. By signing up a bunch of local and regional players to push these gadgets, Nvidia gets the distribution, volume and scale necessary to buy the components at a competitive price.”

Murtazin says he believes Nvidia’s new reference design strategy will kick off this summer, with dozens of cheap, high-quality 7-10″ tablets appearing in a number of markets.

“This white label/reference design approach is nothing new to Nvidia. They already tried and succeeded with it in PC Graphics Card market, and now are applying lessons learned to a highly competitive mobile industry. If they succeed, the prices on high quality tablets and smartphones are going down even faster than I expected,” he added.

Phandroid’s Kevin Krause expressed similar sentiments.

“Remember, we’ve already seen Nvidia’s willingness to dive into the mobile entertainment market with their Project Shield gaming handheld, so it’s not a stretch to think smartphones and tablets are far off.”