Nvidia seems to be having trouble getting companies to adopt the Tegra 4 processor. According to a report by DigiTimes, Toshiba has so far been the first smartphone and tablet maker that has adopted the processor, which implies that Nvidia has been struggling to compete with chips made by Qualcomm, MediaTek and IC design houses.
Asus and Acer, two of the bigger tablet makers in the world, have not yet decided to place orders for Nvidia’s chip. This may be because their focus has shifted from high-end 10-inch tablets to entry-level 7-inch ones. For Asus’ smartphones, it is likely that the company will continue its relationship with Qualcomm and leave Nvidia’s Tegra 4 as a backup option.
Nvidia is considering on reducing the price of the Tegra 3 so that the company can attract entry-level tablet makers. However, Digitimes sources point out that Tegra 3’s price will be too high even after the cut, compared to chips from MediaTek and China-based IC design houses.
Toshiba is the first company to adopt the chip
Nvidia had unveiled the Tegra 4 back in January during CES. The new processor boasts a number of improvements, including 72 graphics cores and better imaging capabilities. The CPU is based on ARM's latest Cortex A-15 architecture, which gives it a considerable boost compared to the current ARM Cortex A-9 based Tegra 3 quad-core chipset. The new chip sticks to Tegra 3's 4-plus-1 design. In this design, a fifth smaller core helps regulate the power among the four more powerful cores.
The biggest feature of the Tegra 4 is the 72 graphics core. This is a full six times higher than the Tegra 3. Another feature is the HDR capability of the chipset. The processor quickly takes two photos at different exposure levels and combines them into a single photo that has higher richness in terms of light and colour. While other chips also have this capability, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang claims that the Tegra 4 takes shots at a rate of 0.2 seconds per frame. This is faster than the iPhone 5, which takes HDR shots in 2 seconds. Other camera-based features of the Tegra 4 include the ability to take panorama shots with HDR and the ability to track moving objects. The second one especially is notable, as the company claims that the chip can track these objects without any blurring.
One of the first pieces of hardware that will be powered by the Tegra 4 is Nvidia's Project SHIELD. SHIELD is made with the aim to be able to run both Android and PC games. It has access to Google Play for Android games, and acts as a wireless receiver and controller for PC games on systems that are powered by Nvidia GeForce GTX GPUs. It can also access titles from the computer's Steam games library.
With Windows and Android being some of the world's most successful computing platforms, along with an ecosystem of developers, Project SHIELD is designed to allow users to enjoy both Android and Windows Games. It will also have access to Nvidia's TegraZone game store, which has games with high graphical fidelity that are specially designed with the Tegra processors in mind.