Samsung’s Galaxy S III and Apple’s iPhone 5 have one thing in common: They don’t use NVIDIA chips. You’d think that because of that NVIDIA wouldn’t be doing so well, but you’d be wrong. The company just posted their fiscal Q3 2012 financial results, and guess what? They earned a record $1.2 billion in revenue. What products actually use the Tegra processor? We can think of a few: HTC’s One X and One X+, the ASUS made Nexus 7, and Microsoft’s recently launched Surface RT. NVIDIA’s Consumer Products Division, which Reuters says is pretty much the Tegra business, grew 28% year over year to $243.9 million. Put another way, one fifth of NVIDIA’s revenue during the quarter came from the Tegra.
Still, does the company have a future? Daniel Berenbaum, an analyst at MKM Partners, says: “The fundamentals are OK.” We have a problem with that claim. Sure, NVIDIA will sooner, rather than later, start selling Tegra platforms that have an integrated cellular component, but what kind of support are they going to offer handset vendors? Qualcomm has fantastic relationships with their partners. Are they going to want to play with NVIDIA and risk wasting time bringing products to market? And then there’s Samsung, who sells most of the Android phones on the market. They have their own chip business. Hell, they even have their own chip fabrication plants!
All that being said, we can’t help but feel that more competition is better for the market. NVIDIA could very well undercut Qualcomm on price, therefore making the phones we all love to use that much cheaper. It’s not NVIDIA who we’re going to be keeping an eye on however, it’s Intel. They’ve proven that they can make chips that fit into smartphones and deliver amazing performance and battery life. Their stuff is only going to get better from here on out.