A Batch of Firsts for Tegra 4 Processor Family at Annual Investor Day Event

by Bob Sherbin

Our annual Investor Day conference in Santa Clara packed a few surprises for the 90-plus attendees and many hundreds listening in on the webcast of the event.

Headlines were made by news that NVIDIA will be returning $1 billion to shareholders over the rest of this fiscal year, in addition to the $200 million returned since our fourth quarter of last year.

And several new announcements and fresh demos were revealed around our NVIDIA Tegra 4 mobile chip family – which many of the financial analysts in attendance follow closely.

In a good-natured exchange, Phil Carmack, senior VP of our Mobile business, made the first-ever voice call on the AT&T LTE network on the Phoenix reference smartphone powered by the Tegra 4i chip. Unveiled six weeks ago, Tegra 4i is the company’s first fully integrated 4G LTE mobile processor, which is significantly faster but half the size of its nearest competitor.

From the stage, Phil called his colleague Steve Allpress, chief technology officer of our modem business, who claimed he’d forgotten altogether about the presentation he was to give about the software-based modem technology, developed by UK-based Icera, which NVIDIA bought almost two years ago.

The call was crystal clear.

Steve, who turns out to be have been well prepared for the event, later showed for the first time our detailed schedule for obtaining full certification on AT&T. He said that we’re on track for Tegra 4i devices for Q1 2014.

There were also two impressive demos shown to the audience.

The first showed off a new capability offered by Tegra 4’s Chimera computational-photography technology – Tap-to-Track with HDR. This enables users of devices equipped with a Tegra 4 processor to select a scene on their screen by tapping it, which would then remain in focus while the camera takes a series of HDR – or high-dynamic range—pictures or video. Such capabilities aren’t available today even on high-end professional photo and video equipment.

And the second demo showed a Tegra 4i processor handily beating a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chip running the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark, which tests the speed of JavaScript engines. In the first benchmark ever shown on Tegra 4i, the NVIDIA chip outstripped its competitor by 1.4x, demonstrating its exceptional performance.