by Fabrice Moizan

France’s Minister for European Affairs swung by our office in southern France this week to mark the opening of NVIDIA’s first Research & Development Center in the country.

Located in France’s answer to Silicon Valley, and a stone’s throw from the beautiful Mediterranean Sea in the Côte d’Azur, the Sophia Antipolis office previously housed operations of Icera. The UK baseband company was acquired last year for its revolutionary soft-modem technology that can be programmed to work across a variety of wireless network and complements our Tegra mobile processor.

Reconstituted as an NVIDIA R&D Center, the office will enable us to spur further innovation in mobile technologies and draw in local engineering talent.

Minister Jean Leonetti was impressed
by the Tegra 3-powered
ASUS Transformer Prime.

Minister Jean Leonetti joined dozens of visitors, journalists and industry representatives at a ceremony to talk about NVIDIA’s innovation. He compared NVIDIA’s drive for excellence to the continuous march of human evolution.

“This helps mark the revival of Sophia Antipolis,” Leonetti said to the crowd. “People sometimes look back and say how good the past was here. It’s more important to move forward, not dwell on the past, but reinvent the future. And in this future, I can see NVIDIA at the center of cross-fertilization among local industries.”

He noted that NVIDIA’s goal to increase its workforce in the area was a refreshing contrast to the global trend of companies reducing their workforce.

Between photo opportunities and chatting with press and local engineers, the minister had a chance to demo NVIDIA’s Tegra-powered devices and stereoscopic 3D games. He came away especially impressed by the new ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime and the 3D Vision Surround experience.