27/05/2013

NVidia Tegra4i chip upgraded before it's released

NVidia has upgraded it's all-in-one system-on-chip the Tegra4i to support Category 4 LTE before it's even been commercialised.

Category 4 LTE supports 150Mb/s download speeds and is already being implemented by other vendors.

This should give NVidia a better chance against its main competitors (in the Smartphone markets) Qualcomm, Broadcom and LTE-only specialist Altair.

NVidia gained LTE experience by acquiring UK company Icera which uses a software defined architecture and though this technology has been used alongside Tegra4 CPU devices as a separate package, the Tegra4i integrates the technology on to the system as the Tegra4. As Icera's technology is software defined, no actual hardware modifications were required to implement the enhancements.

Currently no mobile networks actually support Category-4 LTE (or LTE Advanced), though Japan's NTT Docomo has said they'll be announcing services by the end of the year.

Qualcomm's Mirasol may have a reprieve

Qualcomm last year said it was not pursuing direct sales of it's colour e-ink solution Mirasol and would license the technology to partners.

Mirasol uses MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) technology and is very low power, works in direct sunlight and low light conditions though it has been criticised for washed out colours.

At the SID Display Week event in Canada last week, Qualcomm seems to have reversed its decision and was very publicly displaying the latest version of the Mirasol technology and said it could appear in devices with small screens later this year (less than 1.5 inches - speculation is on some form of smart watch).

There was also a demonstration of a 5.1 inch screen with a resolution of 2560x1440 which equates to a pixels per inch (ppi) value of 577, while Samsung's Galaxy S4 has a resolution of 1920x1080 with a ppi of 440.

The Mirasol technology is really nice and it would be a shame if Qualcomm didn't maximise its market position and push the technology out soon.