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NVIDIA's latest financial results reveal that the Tegra is a grower, not a shower

Nvidia has just posted their Q4 2013 financial results, and they're not bad, but they're not great either. It looks like Tegra is a chip meant for tablets, not smartphones.
February 13, 2013

Nvidia has just posted their fiscal Q4 2013 financial results. Translation: Their calendar ends on January 27th, not December 31st. So how are the numbers? They’re good, but not great. Revenues topped $1.1 billion, roughly 8% lower than the previous quarter; profits were only around $174 million. What really hurts is Nvidia’s guidance about the future. They say that they’re only going to hit $940 million in revenue in the current quarter. Analysts were expecting a hair over $1 billion.

But let’s forget about the money for a second and let’s talk about Nvidia’s products. Tegra 3 powered tablets are helping Nvidia, but they’re not really winning any contracts with handset vendors. The company’s CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, said he expects that to change later this year when Nvidia’s first 4G LTE modem happens. Here’s the exact quote:

“We’ll have some phone success this year, but we don’t expect to have a whole lot of phone design wins until we engage the market with LTE.”

If you’re a company that makes phones, you don’t want to waste time testing a totally new modem. There’s a reason that Qualcomm is kicking ass and taking names right now. People are comfortable with their chips. They know they work. Operators have certified their parts. Nvidia has a lot to prove here.

Will Tegra 4 turn things around? That remains to be seen. Earlier this month we covered a rumor out of Taiwan that said just one company has signed up to use the Tegra 4, Toshiba. If true, that means this is going to be an incredibly difficult year for Nvidia.

And what about Shield? That’s an extremely polarizing product. Some people can’t wait to buy one, but this writer fails to see the point of Shield existing. We already have mobile gaming devices. They’re called smartphones.

And they’re only going to get better with time as chips improve.