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NVIDIA Corporation Message Board

  • joshpritchard Feb 8, 2013 2:44 AM Flag

    Google, Nvidia, Tegra 4 + Chrome OS

    disclaimer: this is all based on blog rumors and my own conjecture.

    I have started seeing speculation pop up on various blogs that Tegra 4 is competing for design wins in upcoming Chrome OS devices. There is some evidence in the Chromium codebase that at least one Tegra 4-powered Chrome OS device is already being tested by some developers. The codename is "puppy".

    Yesterday rumors broke out that Google has been designing their own Chromebook--for the first time since the CR-48. It'll supposedly feature amazing resolution (2560x1700) and will include a touch screen in a laptop/notebook form factor. It may also dual-boot Android (again, based on the Chromium codebase and the inclusion of Android libraries therein). Based on the leaked specs/functionality, Tegra 4 should be more than capable of powering such a device device. That said, the leak from yesterday says the device will be called "Pixel" -- which could be a another name for the same device, or a different device altogether (assuming for now that both devices actually exist).

    Strategically, I think it's very valuable to Google to have Nvidia remain a competitive supplier in the SOC space, especially since TXN has pulled out and won't be investing in supporting Google's platforms. Mediatek has an office in San Jose, but the office is apparently hard to collaborate with, since all key decisions are still run through their HQ in Taiwan, and key product discussions are still held in Mandarin. Huawei is located in Shenzen and also seems to be a difficult/unlikely partner for Google's engineers to collaborate with on a deep level. Nvidia, on the other hand, has their HQ just about 20 minutes from Google's, has hundreds of engineers working on Tegra, and has invested literally billions of dollars in R&D to support the Android market over the last few years. I think Google wants to keep them around.

    Putting the rumors and my own conjecture together, I think we may learn in the coming months that Google and Nvidia are currently working together on bringing the first real Google-branded Chromebook to the mainstream market. This would also jive well with the rumor that Google may have given the next Nexus 7 design win to Qualcomm... they can't give Nvidia too much love, otherwise QCOM could get hurt feelings :-)

    To be clear, I'm not suggesting anyone buy Nvidia on the basis that the Tegra 4 *might* be powering a Google-branded Chromebook. I am arguing, however, that it would make sense for Google strategically to nurture Nvidia's efforts in the SOC space, and that there seems to be at least some evidence (in the Chromium codebase) and a growing stream of rumors that the companies are collaborating on a Chrome OS device that sounds really enticing to me as a tech-loving early adopter.

    I welcome arguments as to why I'm wrong about Google wanting/needing to limit Qualcomm's supplier power, and/or why Tegra 4 wouldn't be a likely candidate for one or more upcoming flagship Chrome devices.

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