NVIDIA Cuts In On Qualcomm's Dance


Being a first mover sure has its perks.

NVIDIA (NAS: NVDA) boasts that title when it comes to the migration of mobile processors from having two cores to four. Its Tegra 3 ushered in the quad-core era late last year, along with the Asus Transformer Prime tablet. Rival chipmaker Qualcomm (NAS: QCOM) is following suit with quad-core Snapdragons this year.

Mobile World Congress kicks off this month on the 27th in Barcelona, Spain, and NVIDIA is already taking its quad-core marketing to the max, promising more "quad-core firsts" at the event. Taiwanese smartphone-maker HTC will naturally be at the event, and there's a chance it will take the wraps off of its first quad-core smartphone, the HTC Edge.


Source: NVIDIA.com

Qualcomm isn't expected to start shipping quad-core Snapdragons until later this year, which means that NVIDIA's Tegra 3 is the only chip that fits the bill for the Edge. It would be an notable shift since HTC has long preferred Qualcomm chips in its Google (NAS: GOOG) Android devices. The vast majority of its gadgets currently sport Snapdragons inside.

This comes shortly after HTC said it will be shifting its product strategy and focusing more on quality over quantity. The OEM is also focusing more on graphics performance, an area in which NVIDIA has always flexed its muscles, while Qualcomm has always excelled in areas like baseband integration and communications. Both chipmakers are ARM Holdings (NAS: ARMH) licensees and together they power a significant chunk of Android devices today.

Speculation on HTC and NVIDIA has circulated for years, and HTC marketing exec Stefan Streit has previously said, "Nvidia or TI-powered smartphones and tablets are possible in the future." Adding Texas Instruments (NYS: TXN) to the bunch would also expand HTC's horizons.

It looks like the years of rumors are actually about to come to fruition this month, and my money is on one of NVIDIA's aforementioned "quad-core firsts," including a new HTC gadget.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorEvan Niuhas sold bullish put spreads on QUALCOMM. He owns shares of ARM Holdings, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned.Click hereto see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Texas Instruments, and QUALCOMM.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Google and NVIDIA.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended writing puts in NVIDIA. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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