NVIDIA CEO sees major growth in mobile processing, quad-core tablets coming this year

During a sitdown with reporters yesterday, NVIDIA Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang discussed his company's near- and long-term financial outlook, while providing some insight into the chipmaker's quad-core future. According to Huang, NVIDIA expects to rake in between $4.7 and $5 billion in revenue during fiscal year 2013, with revenue from its mobile chip unit projected to mushroom tenfold by 2015, to a whopping $20 billion. Huang acknowledged that these predictions could be affected by external factors, including the ongoing patent wars between tablet and smartphone manufacturers, but didn't seem too concerned about their immediate impact. "At this point, it looks like it's much ado about nothing," he said. In fact, Huang foresees rather robust growth in the mobile processing sector, estimating that there are about 100 million devices that will need chips this year -- a figure that could soon rise to one billion, on the strength of more affordable handsets, efficient ARM processors and the rise of ultra-thin notebooks. And, despite his recent disappointment, Huang expects Android tablets to comprise a full 50 percent of the market in the near future, claiming that NVIDIA's Tegra chips can currently be found in 70 percent of all slates running Google's OS, and about half of all Android-based smartphones.

In the short-term, meanwhile, NVIDIA is busy developing its quad-core mobile processors -- which, according to the exec, should appear in tablets during the third or fourth quarter of this year (quad-core smartphones, however, may be further down the road). Huang also sees room to develop wireless-enabled, Snapdragon-like processors, thanks to NVIDIA's recent acquisition of Icera, but he hasn't given up on GPUs, either, predicting that demand for graphics performance will remain stable. The loquacious CEO went on to divine that Windows 8 will support apps designed for Windows 7 (implying, perhaps, that Microsoft's Silverlight platform will play a major role in future cloud-based developments), while contending that smaller, "clamshell devices" with keyboards will ultimately win out of over the Ultrabook strategy that Intel has been pursuing. For the moment, though, Huang seems pretty comfortable with NVIDIA's position in the mobile processing market, citing only Qualcomm as primary competition. "We're the only people seriously on the dance floor with Qualcomm," he argued, adding that companies without a solid mobile strategy are "in deep turd." You can find more of Huang's insights at the source links below.