The CEO of graphics company NVIDIA embarked on one of his evangelising media road-trips yesterday, with the apparent aim of improving the perception of NVIDIA's mobile prospects.
He popped into the WSJ/Dow Jones offices and offered an update on when we can expect mobile devices running the next generation Tegra SoC - a quad-core beast codenamed Kal-El. Apparently they should start to appear in the third or fourth quarter, but given that we're well into Q3 that probably means mid Q4 - November-ish.
Back when NVIDIA mobile boss Mike Rayfield first announced Kal-El at MWC in February, he predicted devices by August, which clearly hasn't happened. "We're trying to get there as fast as possible," explained Huang. "Some of it is related to getting the industrial design as wonderful as possible, and some of it's related to tuning and performance. But it's going to be pretty great."
Huang also insisted that the mobile SoC market is now a two horse race, with NVIDIA and Qualcomm the only real contenders, despite rumours that TI's OMAP is the reference chip for the next major version of Android. This does, of course, exclude the two biggest device makers - Apple and Samsung - who make their own SoCs.
"We were never in any of the reference devices," said Huang, conveniently overlooking Tegra 2's position as the default chip for Honeycomb tablets. "I think TI is desperately trying to hold onto something. I think they just don't invest enough, and they need to decide if they're going to invest." He was apparently referring specifically to software in that case.
At another round table Huang apparently said he expects revenue from NVIDIA's mobile chip business to reach $20 billion by 2015. That would be quite an achievement considering the consumer products division - which includes Tegra -produced $290 million in revenue in the first half of this year and Huang has forecast total revenues for the whole company of $5 billion for next year.
Huang is always good for a strong quote or two, and he knows that forecasts are soon forgotten, so he's clearly made a tactical decision to try to keep the buzz going for Tegra while we wait for the Kal-El devices to arrive. But that doesn't mean there's no substance to his words; the third-party SoC market does seem to be dominated by Qualcomm and NVIDIA right now and, with the two companies coming at the market from such different directions, it makes for an intriguing clash.