As Android disrupts, tablets beat cheap PCs: Nvidia

High-end tablets will replace low-end PCs, with Android leading the way, according to Nvidia's CEO.

Android-based Asus Transformer Pad Infinity uses an Nvidia chip.
Android-based Asus Transformer Pad Infinity uses an Nvidia chip. Best Buy

Nvidia is banking on new computing devices to replace "cheap" PCs and Android to drive that disruption, according to comments from the chipmaker's chief executive on Thursday.

"A great tablet is clearly better than a cheap PC," said Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang during the company's fiscal first quarter conference call.

"New computing devices are becoming increasingly like your personal computer, [so] performance matters and this is where we can add a lot of value....disrupting the entry-level PC," he said.

Nvidia sees Android as the agent of disruption. "Android is really quite disruptive. People who enjoy Android phones are going to enjoy Android tablets and Android this and that," he said.

Nvidia's upcoming Tegra 4 will be the chip inside those devices.

"Tegra 4 is...targeted at tablets, set-top boxes, cars, clamshell devices," said Huang, adding that production of the latest Tegra chip will ramp "quite hard" in the fourth quarter.

The Tegra 4i, a variant of the Tegra 4, should begin to find its way into products by the first quarter of 2014, he said.

While the Tegra 4 is aimed at high-performance devices, the 4i is "more targeted at phones," according to Huang. The 4i includes an integrated modem for 3G/4G mobile broadband, the Tegra 4 does not.

Nvidia reported first-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates.

Net income jumped to $77.9 million, or 13 cents a share, from $60.4 million, or 10 cents, in the same period last year. Revenue was up 3.2 percent to $954.7 million.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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