Since the Tegra 3 chip, also known as Kal-El, isn't the clear performance and market leader it used to be, NVIDIA is preparing to manufacture the next-generation system-on-chip devices.
Unlike the past two years, NVIDIA has decided to go forward with two application processors at the same time.
Both Wayne and Grey will be launched in 2013, likely not at the same time but close enough together than the time difference won't really matter.
Wayne is the high-end chip, the product that will pick up where Kal-El left off and which will grace tablets, and some superphones, with ARM Cortex-A15 general-purpose cores, plus new GeForce-class graphics.
Since Wayne is bound to be several times mightier than Kal-El, there should be no problems in terms of design wins there.
The Grey chip is the one that NVIDIA will have to work at more, even though the final design will be complete before the year is out (2012).
It will be optimized for smartphones and, while it will possess integrated 3G and 4G/LTE communication technologies, NVIDIA will have its work cut out for it persuading phone makers to add a new SoC into their designs.
There is also the matter of no support for Windows Phone 8. Settling for Android and Blackberry OS could work in the short term, but Windows Phone 8 may finally give Microsoft the push it wants on the mobile phone market, just like Windows RT (Windows 8 for ARM) and the Surface have done on the tablet market.
“We have a next-generation application processor integrated with a next-generation 4G/LTE. This quarter, we hope to tape out and race it to market. […] It is obviously a very, very large market opportunity for us, and so we are very bullish about it,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive of Nvidia, during the most recent conference call with financial analysts.
“That [Tegra ‘Grey’] is really the product that in about a year's time frame will really matter to get us into a larger part of the smartphone market.”