Nvidia CEO: A 'great tablet is better than a cheap PC'

As the previously lucrative PC market continues to crumble, Nvidia is looking to embrace mobile computing, and it is talking up tablets as replacements for cheap PCs. But given Apple's dominance with the iPad, nothing is certain.

While all the available data seems to point to the fact that the PC industry has stalled, Nvidia is betting that interest in tablets will keep the dollars flowing in.

Nvidia, previously heavily reliant on graphics processor unit (GPU) sales, has over the past few years been positioning itself as major player in the smartphone and tablet market with its ARM-based Tegra system-on-a-chip (SoC) platform.

A "great tablet is better than a cheap PC," Nvidia chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang told analysts during a conference call.

Huang also spent time during the conference call building up Microsoft's Surface RT tablets, which are powered by the company's Tegra 3 processors. Speaking to sister site CNET, he said: "Windows RT is a monumental event for the PC industry" and that, "once you touch it, feel it, enjoy it, you realize in just a few clicks that this is going to be the way PCs get built."

Maybe. Maybe not.

While there remains a significant hype surrounding tablets, as yet there is no proven market for the devices beyond Apple's iPad. Tablets have indeed taken a significant bite out of PC sales, but these 'tablets' have only featured the Apple logo on the back. Microsoft, along with its hardware partners, are putting a lot of stock into tablets, but unless the hyperbole translates into sales -- and we're talking significant sales over the next few years -- then the only winner from the consumer -- and increasingly, enterprise -- love affair with tablets will be Apple.

Companies like Microsoft, Intel, AMD, and Nvidia are facing a tough time. Their mainstay revenue stream -- the PC upgrade cycle -- while far from dead, is definitely drying up, and they are looking to position themselves as players in the mobile industry. These companies are trying to embrace tablets as a reaction to the crumbling PC industry, unlike Apple, which came into it with a fresh approach, made that work, and then went on to define much of what consumers expect from a tablet.

That said, Nvidia is pretty well placed to leverage mobile because the company has invested heavily in 4G LTE modem technology as well as processors, adding another string to its bow. Tegra 4 processors, which should make an appearance early 2013, are expected to include integrated 4G LTE support.

The problem here is that Apple has managed to dominate this market with the iPad and iPhone, leaving everyone else to play catch-up.

Image Gallery: Microsoft Surface tablet

Image source: Nvidia.


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