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2014年6月17日 星期二

Nvidia is no longer focusing on smartphones




小米遇上豬隊友,NVIDIA 退出智慧型手機和平板電腦市場

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NVIDIA CEO 黃仁勳在接受採訪時表示,在智慧型手機和平板電腦市場發展未達到預期,Tegra 系列處理器難以獲得手機廠商的認可,未來公司的業務重點就是機上盒和汽車車載系統市場。 NVIDIA 在手機市場鎩羽而歸,最為尷尬的就是將 NVIDIA 產品應用在兩款旗艦產品的小米公司。
黃仁勳在採訪中解釋了 NVIDIA 為何選擇退出智慧型手機和平板電腦,行動裝置晶片技術更新非常快,一些推出平價晶片廠商的出現給了 NVIDIA 非常大的壓力,在和聯發科的競爭中 NVIDIA 也學到了很多,可惜被寄予厚望的 Tegra 系列產品沒有獲得成功。
Tegra 系列產品已經展現了性能和能耗的平衡,NVIDIA 處理器業務將把重點放在機上盒和汽車車載晶片市場,在 2014 年 1 月的 CES 上 NVIDIA 已經展出了與知名汽車廠商合作的技術平台。在行動裝置晶片上專利儲備不足、產品能耗過高、出貨量低迷都表明 NVIDIA 難以在這一市場有所收穫。
20140617101326
NVIDIA 宣布轉型之後處境最尷尬的就是連續兩款旗艦產品使用該公司晶片的小米公司,2013 年 6 月上市小米 3 智慧型手機,這是首款搭載 NVIDIA Tegra 4 處理器的高階智慧型手機,近期推出的小米平板則是全球首款搭載 NVIDIA K1 的平板電腦。一直採用高通晶片的小米意外選擇和 NVIDIA 合作,無非是增加供應商的數量,保證產品供貨,在與高通談判時增加籌碼,現在 NVIDIA 做了一半突然宣布不玩了,小米平板上市前景堪憂。

Nvidia CEO sees future in cars and gaming (Q&A)

CEO Jen-Hsun Huang explains to CNET why Nvidia is no longer focusing on smartphones and why someone would pay $3,000 for a GPU.
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Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang shows off the company's Shield gaming device at Nvidia's headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif.Shara Tibken/CNET
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Nvidia is shifting gears again.
The company, which has risen to prominence by creating graphic processing units, or GPUs, for computers, has long been looking for other avenues of growth. It had sought to break into the smartphone and tablet business, but has largely been shut out, and is now looking at gaming devices and cars as its next big opportunity.
Whatever the area, Nvidia needs to capitalize on it fast. Last year, PC shipments posted their worst-ever drop of 10 percent, according to Gartner. And the tech research firm expects shipments to drop more than 6 percent this year and fall again next year.
Even as most smartphones passed on Nvidia's Tegra chip, it found its way into notable products like theXiaomi Mi Pad tablet and the first two versions of Microsoft's Windows RT-powered Surface tablet. But the latest reports suggest Qualcomm will supply the chip for Microsoft's new smaller-screen Surface instead of Nvidia.
Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang didn't want to talk about Surface with CNET as much as the company's new strategy, which he believes will pay off for the chipmaker. The following is an edited transcript of our conversation, which took place Wednesday here at the company's headquarters.
Q: Some reports say Nvidia isn't targeting smartphones and tablets with Tegra anymore. Has your strategy shifted?
Jen-Hsun Huang: The strategy has shifted, but that's not quite right. The reason for that is this: First of all, we see that mobile is not about phones only. One of the most important mobile devices is a phone, but mobile technology is revolutionizing [products] all over the place...It's going to revolutionize TVs. It's going to revolutionize, obviously, computers. But it's also going to revolutionize games and cars and all kinds of stuff. Our strategy is to go and focus our energy on segments of mobile where we can add the most value. The area where we can add the most value is visual computing, graphics, GPUs, etc.
In some phones, visual computing is important, but in a lot of phones, visual computing is just not that important. So what we wanted to do was focus on No. 1. gaming, where we can add a lot of value, and we think gaming on Android is going to be important. We're going to focus on car computers where visual computing and supercomputing technology is really important to the future of cars. And then we're going to focus our energy on segments of mobile computing, segments of phones and tablets where computer graphics are really important.
Are those gaming-specific devices, or what do you mean?
Huang: A gaming-specific device certainly is one example. [Also] set-top boxes that are designed for gaming, tablets where they would like to highlight gaming. Tablets where instead of just highlighting the design, they'd also like to highlight the performance.
That goes hand in hand with gaming processors as performance. If you want to build the Porsche of tablets or phones, we're a fabulous partner for that. That's why companies like Xiaomi like working with us. They're reaching out to a technology-forward fan base.
Does that mean we're not going to see Nvidia in smartphones? You earlier said gaining share in smartphones was a matter of releasing a processor, called Tegra 4i, that integrated 4G with your apps processor. Has that not worked?
Huang: [Tegra 4i] wasn't that successful for us. I would say that when we first started this, we thought that bringing 4G to entry-level phones, mainstream phones, integrated with our apps processor would be a real opportunity. I think that the phone marketplace has commoditized really, really fast. It is not our strategy to go after commodity phones. It is not our strategy to go after mainstream devices. But our strategy is to focus on performance-oriented, visual computing-oriented, gaming-oriented devices where we can add a lot of value.
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Nvidia's Tegra processor powers cars such as the Tesla, Audi, and Lamborghini, pictured at Nvidia's Santa Clara, Calif., headquarters.Shara Tibken/CNET
Of course, if I said these things three years ago, it would have sounded really strange. And the reason for that is because cars weren't really prevalent with computers inside and it wasn't a very large part of our strategy or a large part of our business. Now it's growing significantly; it's a large part of our business now. And you're seeing more and more Android compute devices, whether it's game consoles or gaming devices in China from Huawei or ZTE. You're seeing devices that are highlighting their gaming and performance capabilities much more.
People are recognizing [that in] the Google Play store, the No. 1 download is games. Now all of a sudden, there's a lot more discussion about Android as a platform for gaming...Just three years ago if I said these things, all people wanted to focus on was phones. Now we have a lot more pillars of growth in mobile, and we're just not going to go focus on mainstream phones.
Why did Tegra struggle in smartphones?
Huang: Our focus as a company is still performance-oriented. The mainstream phone market commoditized so fast that really the...differentiators were price. And you can see the pressure that MediaTek is putting on Qualcomm, and you can see the pressure that MediaTek is putting on Marvell and Broadcom and all of these companies. Because guess what? They're the lowest-cost provider. I think that for mainstream phones, there's one strategy that really works right now, which is price. That's not our differentiator. That's not what we do for a living.
Will there be a Tegra 5i or whatever you would call a chip that integrates 4G with an apps processor?
Huang: We don't talk about future products, but I also haven't talked about T5i.
You delayed Tegra 4 for Tegra 4i. Did that turn out to be a mistake? Did you miss this whole design cycle?
Huang: I would say that Tegra 4i didn't pan out. We learned a lot in the process. But there are many things in our company that didn't pan out. That's OK. If you want to be an innovative company, you have to fail.
Look, we built a great chip. LG's shipping it in the rest of the world outside the United States. It's a fantastic processor. But from a business strategy, it wasn't a success. So I learned a lot from it. It's OK. I'm glad I did it, and now we're moving on.

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