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NVIDIA Announces Tegra 4i Processor – First with Integrated LTE

Most PCs – laptops and desktops – around the world today are powered by Intel’s processors.  However, the company has not much headway into the mobile telecommunications field of smartphones and tablets which is currently dominated by NVIDIA and Qualcomm.  As the war of powerful smartphones and tablets takes center stage, NVIDIA and Qualcomm are going head-to-head to dominate the market and they are willing to push the envelope further to achieve this.  We have seen the emergence of quad-core 2.0 mobile chips with tons of features from power saving to LTE and 4G.  NVIDIA announced Tegra 4 chips a few weeks ago and today they have officially announced the Tegra 4i chipset which it promises will solve the 4G LTE problems.  This is the first ever NVIDIA processor for smartphones and tablets to come with LTE built in by default.  Is this a sign of great things to come?

NVIDIA Tegra 4i Processor

Tegra 4i will make use of NVIDIA’s in-built i500 modem which supports up to 100 mbps LTE speeds out-of-the-box to transfer LTE data but it needs a software upgrade to make it able to transfer in excess of 150 mbps of data if need be.  The Tegra 4i chip is a quad-core Cortex A9 R4 processor measuring only 28nm and has a fifth core for power preservation named low-power companion core which will come with the 60-core NVIDIA graphics chipset.

The chipset is capable of speeds up to 2.3 GHz despite the fact that it is about half the size of Qualcomm’s next chipset Snapdragon 800 according to NVIDIA.  The processor is supposed to be more friendly for OEMs to develop devices that work seamlessly and designing technologies for tomorrow.  NVIDIA is referring to the Tegra 4i as the fastest single-chip configuration in the market now and if this is true, then it is most likely to shake things a little bit in the smartphone and tablet processor industry.

During the 2013 CES, Samsung announced their breakthrough in developing mobile Exynos 5 Octa processors with 8 cores.  In a video teaser, Samsung boasts of the processor, which is most likely to debut with Samsung’s next flagship smartphone Galaxy SIV, ass a more economical chip in power consumption, improved performance and compatibility with software.  Despite being touted as having 8 processors, the Octa however can only run 4 processors at a time, which makes it not so different from the Snapdragon 800 and Tegra 4.

Tegra 4i chipset dubbed Tegra 4 ‘Wayne’ is currently NVIDIA’s powerhouse chip with a 1.9 GHz quad-core + 1 configuration based on ARM Cortex-A15.  With a 72 core GPU, most professionals have designated this processor as the perfect SoC to use on high end smartphones and tablets, especially those that have high demand for power to display graphics such as games and HD videos.

While announcing the Tegra 4i chipset, NVIDIA also announced the Phoenix platform for OEMS interested in designing Tegra 4i smartphones and have them released into the market sooner.  Phoenix is not for everyone though, even as we cannot understand what it is, its benefits will trickle down to the most basic user as soon as smartphones and tablets running the new processor hit the market.

NVIDIA Phoenix Reference Phone

The phoenix reference phone is a hardware Tegra 4i smartphone with a 5 inch 1080p Full HD display with all the hardware features of a typical high end smartphone.  More details of the new project will be furnished during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona for developers interested in the project.