This week in NVIDIA: Icera, Kai, and Tegra devices

NVIDIAlog

NVIDIA has announced quite a few details and new projects this week, so we’re going to get you up to speed with said announcements. From Tegra designs, Icera integration, and the Kai project, it’s certainly going to be an interesting (and successful) year for the company.

Icera

First off, let’s talk Icera. As you might have noticed, there are currently no Tegra 3 devices in the United States that support LTE. The likes of the HTC One X swapped out the quad-core Tegra 3 for the dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 because it’s currently the only option for LTE networks, but that’s about to change.

Last year, NVIDIA bought up Icera, a baseband chipset maker that will help NVIDIA bring LTE to the masses with its Tegra 3 chipset. While full integration won’t happen until sometime in 2013 (named Project Grey), but the company has announced two modems that will be paving the wave for the fully integrated Project Grey. Earlier this morning, the Icera 410 was announced and has been validated to work on AT&T’s LTE network. While this a step in the right direction, the validation alone isn’t necessarily an indication that we’ll be seeing it pop up in any AT&T devices soon. But that’s not all that was announced.

Earlier this afternoon, Mike Rayfield, NVIDIA’s General Manager of the Mobile Business unit announced the Icera 500 LTE modem that will be the precursor and basis of Project Grey. Rayfield also reassured that Tegra 3 devices will indeed be landing in 2012 – something we’ve been hearing all along – so it may not be surprising but it’s definitely nicer to hear that availability hasn’t been pushed back.

NVIDIA Kai

Icera news wasn’t the only thing NVIDIA announced this week, as we also got the news about NVIDIA Kai. Kai will be a new Tegra 3 based platform for Android tablets that will give manufacturers the ability to price their devices as low as $199.

This immediately reminds us of the rumored Google Nexus tablet that was said to be running the Tegra 3 with a low price tag, only for more rumors to say that the device’s processor was switched out for a cheaper dual-core processor to keep the price lower. Well, the jury is still out on that one, but with NVIDIA Kai knocking on our doorsteps, the prospects of a Tegra 3 Nexus tablet not only sound very enticing but also a very possible result. We won’t know until the device is announced itself but we’re going to keep our fingers crossed.

NVIDIA Kai will also breathe some competition into Windows tablets; a place that Intel has dominated for a long time. With Windows 8 just a handful of months away, there’s a good chance we’ll see a nice helping of Kai running a nice selection of tablets running the OS.

Tegra Devices

NVIDIA also dropped an interesting nugget of information pertaining to its Tegra phone designs. It looks like we’ll be seeing quite a few Tegra phones this year, as NVIDIA has a total of 30 different phone designs for both the Tegra 2 and 3. This is twice as many designs the company had for 2011, and the 30 phones will spin-off into multiple SKUs and find their way into many carriers before the year is over.

That’s doesn’t sounds that impressive, you say? Well, you should keep in mind that these 30 devices are phones only, not tablets. With the combination of the existing portfolio of Tegra 3 tablets already available and NVIDIA Kai tablets on their way, Tegra 3 tablets will be all over the place in various sizes and price points.

The rest of the year and into 2013 look to be pretty bright for NVIDIA. What are you looking forward to most from the company?

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