Nvidia CEO haunted by Motorola, Amazon design wins that got away

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said the company will work hard to win back Motorola's business and eventually become a tablet partner for Amazon. In the meantime, Tegra 3 design wins are on track.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang talked up the company's Tegra 3 quad-core mobile processor, but his remarks were haunted by the tablet design wins that got away.

On an earnings conference call with analysts, Huang noted that Nvidia was disappointed that the company lost a design win with the new Motorola smartphones. As reported earlier this week, analysts are questioning Nvidia's tablet progress as players like Qualcomm and Texas Instruments rack up design wins. TI's OMAP processor powers the Amazon Kindle Fire, a device that caught Huang off guard.

Also see: Nvidia's Tegra 3 marks start of 'different cores for different chores' | Is Nvidia's Tegra mobile domination plan in trouble?

Huang said:

There are a couple of design wins that I wish we had this year that we didn't have. I already mentioned Motorola. We were surprised by the Amazon Fire, but frankly, we're not going to be surprised again. We're obviously very excited about Amazon, and we're going to do our best to be a partner of theirs someday.

On Motorola's decision to go with TI, Huang said that Nvidia's production cadence didn't match up with the smartphone maker's plans. "Motorola had their own internal rhythm and (TI's) OMAP 4 was right in between Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 and they felt that OMAP 4 was a better processor than Tegra 2. Obviously, I feel different, but Motorola made their choice," said Huang.

What's next?

Nvidia has to win more tablet designs. Huang pointed to more smartphone design wins and said that Windows 8 tablets will also boost Tegra going forward. In the meantime, Nvidia will work "super hard" to get back into Motorola and make headway with Amazon and land more design wins. Huang said:

The reason we expect Tegra 3 to be more successful than Tegra 2 is we have more experience building these mobile devices than we did before.

I think that the velocity of engagement is much greater than it used to be. We have more phones in development now than we did in Tegra 2. We have more tablets in development.We have more OEMs than we had in Tegra 2. And not to mention on top of that, Windows 8. But even in the absence of Windows 8 we have more -- far more OEMs and devices in development today than we did with Tegra 2.

Nvidia reported third quarter earnings of $178.27 million, or 29 cents a share, on revenue of $1.07 billion. Wall Street was looking for earnings of 26 cents a share on revenue of $1.06 billion.

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