NVIDIA to start making Tegra smartphones and tablets itself. As white label boxes sold through local partners
NVIDIA has been trying to break in to the smartphone and tablet markets with its Tegra chipsets for a few years now. But, so far, it had only a limited success.
Yes, they managed to get Tegra 3 CPU into a few smartphones and even more tablets. Still, by and large, the market is dominated by Qualcomm on the higher end, while Mediatek is taking over the low cost Chinese vendors.
But, according to Mobile Review’s Eldar Murtazin, NVIDIA has a plan for 2013. A plan that may rapidly turn things around, explode the number of Tegra running devices and secure the graphic chip vendor’s place in mobile.
And that plan is – getting into the business of making tablets and smartphones itself. With a little twist.
You probably won’t see a tablet or smartphone under NVIDIA brand anytime soon. What they will do – is develop the reference designs, and contract manufacture cheap white label devices for others to sell under their own brands. Those others? Small regional players that until now have been pushing cheap and low quality Chinese made tablets and phones in local markets. Think Fly and Wexler in Russia, or Micromax and Lava in India.
By designing and manufacturing the end products itself, NVIDIA gets the opportunity to fully control the features and performance of devices, while assuring the high quality of the end product. By signing up a bunch of local and regional players to push these gadgets, NVIDIA gets the distribution, volume and scale necessary to buy the components at a competitive price. While NVIDIA partners get the opportunity to seriously undercut first tier brands in price, while delivering the products of comparable quality.
It will start this May-June, with tens of cheap and high quality 7-10” tablets popping up in various markets, under different brands, seemingly out of nowhere. Some of them will have NVIDIA or Tegra name on, some won’t. The branding decisions are left to local partners. But all of them will be one of the same few basic models, designed and manufactured by NVIDIA. The company aims to have one or two strong partners per market, with a goal on making them into a strong regional vendors over time.
This white label/reference design approach is nothing new to NVIDIA. They already tried and succeeded with it in PC Graphics Card market, and now are applying lessons learned to a highly competitive mobile industry. If they succeed, the prices on high quality tablets and smartphones are going down even faster than I expected.