Nvidia Q4 strong, 4G LTE Tegra chips sampled

UPDATED: The company needs those LTE Tegra processors to better compete with the likes of Qualcomm.

Nvidia posted strong fourth quarter sales growth compared to a year ago and said that it is sampling production silicon of its Tegra 4 processors with 4G LTE capabilities.

The company needs those LTE Tegra processors to better compete with the likes of Qualcomm .

Nvidia reported fourth quarter earnings of $174 million, or 28 cents a share, on revenue of $1.106 billion, up 16.1 percent from a year ago, but down 8.1 percent from the third quarter. Non-GAAP earnings were 35 cents a share.

Wall Street analysts were expecting Nvidia to report non-GAAP fourth quarter earnings of 24 cents a share on revenue of $1.102 billion.

For fiscal 2013, Nvidia reported earnings of $562.5 million, or 90 cents a share, on revenue of $4.28 billion, up 7.1 percent from a year ago.

As for the outlook, Nvidia projected first quarter sales of $940 million give or take 2 percent. GAAP margins will be 52.9 percent. Wall Street was looking for first quarter sales of $1.066 billion. 

Tegra processor sales showed revenue growth of 90 percent from a year ago. GPU sales were up 7 percent. 


UPDATE: During the quarterly conference call on Wednesday afternoon, Nvidia executives discussed growth opportunities around the LTE connected device market, which they said is projected to consist of 150 million units by the end of 2013, growing at 50 percent annually.

We are now sampling our I-500 4G LTE multi-band mode voice and data modem, more efficient and 40% the size of conventional modems. I-500 delivers four times the processing capability of its predecessor. This is the first result of our Isera acquisition. Isera is the first company to successfully create and commercialize a software-defined radio modem and has been building modems since 2006.

Nvidia also touched a bit upon the future of the open source handheld gaming console, Project Shield, which was first unveiled in January at the 2013 International CES.

We believe Shield will be attractive to modern gamers who want to play in open platforms and have great gaming experiences while untethered to their TVs or PCs. Shield will enhance the strategic position of Tegra. Besides highlighting the capabilities of Tegra, Shield will attract great game to Tegra Zone, which can then be enjoyed on every Tegra-powered device. Tegra Zone has already been downloaded 6 million times.