by Tony Kontzer

In a fireside chat at GTC with industry analyst Tim Bajarin, NVIDIA CEO and co-founder Jen-Hsun Huang  shared his vision of the future for everything from mobile devices to cloud computing to startup opportunities.

Jen-Hsun Huang speaking with Tim Bajarin at the GTC fireside chat
Attendees packed the room to see Jen-Hsun
shake out the future of tech

That vision centers, in part, on the notion that no single approach to technology will ever satisfy all users. Whether people should rely on the cloud or buy a certain device will continue to depend on their particular preferences, he said.

“Over time, what works for the mainstream isn’t going to be desirable for the extremes,” he said. “If everyone in this room has an iPhone, nobody’s special.”

That thought —  that heterogeneity will reign more than ever — was sprinkled throughout the discussion. Among his other observations:

  • On the future of mobile platforms: “We’re early in the development of mobile computing. All of the disparate elements need to be integrated. Everyone’s got an opinion. Microsoft’s got an opinion, Apple’s got an opinion, Oracle’s got an opinion. And the alignment of these interested parties isn’t likely in the early stages of a new market. Give it a little bit of time, and I think the horizontal structure of the industry will become an advantage.”
  • On Microsoft’s evolving mobile strategy: “It was genius to separate Windows 8 and Windows RT (the recently announced touch-optimized OS). You can’t reposition what a PC is anymore. If they want to create a new computing platform that has virtues in that you can see documents from the PC universe, yet it’s exquisitely designed, you can’t do this in a Windows x86 design. ”
  • On the future of laptops: “Computers are like cars. Some have two doors, some have four, or five doors. Some have seven seats. It’s different strokes for different folks. You’ll have some that have keyboards, some that don’t. Some will be gesture based, some won’t. The one thing that’s going to be really exiting is that everything is in the cloud.”
  • On the future of packaged consumer apps: “The idea of buying an application in a box is weird to me. Tomorrow, it’s just wrong.”

After telling the audience where he believes the greatest opportunities for startups lie (the mobile cloud), Jen-Hsun said that legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist Don Valentine once told him to look for a huge market, assemble great people and develop killer technology. But his advice to young entrepreneurs today took the form of a series of questions: Is this an important problem to solve? Are you the one to solve it? Are you more passionate about it than the competition? Are you more prepared?

“You ask these questions, and so long as the answers are all ‘yes,’ then I’m a big proponent of trying things,” he said.