First Tegra 4 smartphones and tablets will launch in August at the earliest
NVIDIA's latest generation mobile SoC, the Tegra 4, was unveiled about a month ago at CES 2013. We even saw several devices powered by it, including a 10-inch tablet by Vizio and NVIDIA's very own Project Shield gaming console. That doesn't mean, however, that we'll see any Tegra 4-equipped smartphones or tablets on the market anytime soon. In fact, it will take months for NVIDIA to start shipping the chip to interested manufacturers, which isn't good news.
During a conference call, NVIDIA's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang stated that the Tegra 4 SoC is expected to start shipping in July. Therefore, commercial products, such as smartphones or tablets powered by the new quad-core chip, won't be on the market earlier than August of 2013. The company's portable Shield console should be out even later – in September of this year.
By that time, the next generation of mobile SoCs by Qualcomm, which are supposedly faster than the Tegra 4, may already be on the market. The Snapdragon 600 is scheduled to be commercially available in Q2 of 2013, while the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 800, with its quad-core Krait 400 CPU running at up to 2.3GHz and Adreno 330 graphics will follow soon after. Samsung's newest Exynos chips should be out as well. The rumored Samsung Galaxy S IV, for example, which is expected to be powered by the next-gen silicon, may be unveiled as early as next month.
All of this does not bode well for the future of NVIDIA as a player on the mobile SoC arena. Being late to the market with a next-gen quad-core offering will surely have an impact on its sales figures, especially when its competitor – Qualcomm, has already partnered up with a huge chunk of the major manufacturers. NVIDIA, on the other hand, is said to be having a hard time finding companies willing to embrace the Tegra 4, and further delays to launch the chip in a timely manner might lead to catastrophic results.