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Nvidia releases its first mobile processor with LTE integration

19 Feb 2013

Nvidia has unveiled its Tegra 4i processor with LTE connection integration, which it claims can handle all smartphones' major functions.

The 4i mobile chip is integrated with the Nvidia i500 LTE modem and offers up to 2.3GHz processor speeds. It also comes packed with a quad-core CPU based on the ARM Cortex A9 R4 architecture.

"Nvidia is delivering for the first time a single, integrated processor that powers all the major functions of a smartphone," said senior vice president of the mobile business at Nvidia Phil Carmack in a statement.

"Tegra 4i phones will provide amazing computing power, world-class phone capabilities, and exceptionally long battery life."

Nvidia's Tegra 4i mobile processor uses the same GPU architecture as the firm's Tegra 4 mobile processor. According to the company, the GPU offers five times the speed of previous generation Tegra 3 chips.

Built into the Tegra 4i is an LTE radio modem. The integration marks Nvidia's first chip with LTE integration. Until the Tegra 4i, only Qualcomm had released a mobile processor with LTE integration to the market.

The Tegra 4i, codenamed Project Grey, was jointly designed by Nvidia and ARM. Both firms tout the chip as one of the most efficient on the market.

ARM's executive vice president and general manager of the processor division Tom Cronk says the chip has been optimised for efficiency in areas such as streaming.

"ARM and Nvidia worked closely to further optimise the Cortex-A9 processor to drive performance and efficiency in areas such as streaming and responsiveness," said Cronk.

"This is an example of the collaboration and innovation that enables ARM technology-based solutions to be market drivers through multiple generations of SoC solutions."

ARM has been gaining steam in the mobile chip arena in recent years. The firm's designs are currently used in a variety of mobile handsets. ARM also produces the design for the processor found in Microsoft's Surface RT tablet.

Nvidia has yet to announce any smartphones that will use the recently announced chip. The firm is currently offering potential partners a reference phone code-named the "Phoenix" to test out the Tegra 4i.

The firm will also show off the new chip at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain later this month.

Nvidia has been pushing to get into the mobile chip market in recent years. The firm made a name for itself by offering processors for desktops and notebooks. However, in recent years the downturn of those markets has caused the firm to explore other avenues.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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