Nvidia's CEO boasted about the power frugality of an upcoming quad-core chip, as the company reported better-than-expected earnings today.
The graphics chip supplier swung toin the fiscal second quarter ended July 31, buttressed by revenue from laptop graphics processing units used with systems built around Intel's "Sandy Bridge" processors.
Nvidia reported a profit of $151.6 million compared with a loss of $141 million in the year-earlier period. Revenue surged 25 percent to $1.02 billion. And gross margin--a critical profit indicator--jumped to 51.7 percent from 16.6 percent compared to last year. In the third quarter, revenue is expected to be up 4 percent to 6 percent from the second quarter.
Responding to an analyst's question during the earnings conference call, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said the upcoming Kal-El processor--likely the first mainstream quad-core ARM chip--will actually offer better power efficiency than the company's dual-core Tegra 2, currently used in tablets from Motorola, Samsung, Toshiba, Acer, and others. Those tablets are based on Google's Android "Honeycomb" operating system.
"Kal-El is so much better performance than Tegra 2. And so much lower power. Very few people have internalized that Kal-El is lower power in every use case compared to Tegra 2," Huang said. Kal-El is due later this year.
He also said that Nvidia has invested heavily in Android. "We've made very, very large investments in the Google operating system. And we have a great working relationship with [Google]. As soon as the next-generation Kal-El processor goes into production we can run like the wind."
And among persistent rumors that Texas Instruments is the favored chip supplier for Google's Ice Cream Sandwich operating system--the version of Android that follows Honeycomb and Gingerbread--Huang said, "I look forward to Ice Cream Sandwich and expect to be very successful with it."
But Nvidia's future is not all pegged on Android. Its quad-core chip is also targeted at Windows 8 tablets and laptops. "We're very bullish on Windows 8 for the second half of next year," he said.