Tegra 4i

Tegra 3 devices were a revelation when they came to market. That technology was, and is, very speedy and capable. With the advent of Tegra 4, which is a quad core chipset, NVIDIA was also able to produce a Tegra 4i. The latter of the two has ended up being the darling of the mobile tech world, at least in terms of potential.

Tegra 4i is LTE capable, and they’re taking it for a spin at CTIA this week in Las Vegas. Running CAT 4, the Tegra 4i chips are jogging through at 150Mbps, showing no signs of lag or stuttering. If you’re not quite sure what all this talk of “cats” is about, don’t worry. It’s really finite, technical stuff.

Essentially, LTE as we know it runs on CAT 3 technology, with CAT standing for categories. CAT 3 is capable of 100Mbps download speeds, with 50Mbps upload. CAT 4 bumps those up to 150 and 50, respectively. Those speeds are not typically realized, unfortunately.

The really special thing about NVIDIA walking that Tegra 4i dog is that the upgrade to CAT 4 is done via software, not new hardware. The Tegra 4i chipset was shown off at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, on CAT 3. Since then, NVIDIA has done some software tweaks and been able to get the exact same hardware running a much faster category of LTE.

The Tegra 4i chipset is also 40% smaller than current LTE chipsets, and is said to be more efficient. These tests are simulated, as CAT 4 isn’t in the wild yet, but NVIDIA updating an LTE radio via software updates is impressive. We’ll be excited to see this technology in mobile devices, as it should be ready late this year or early 2014.