Analyst predicts Nvidia-powered Microsoft phone

Ever since Apple released the iPhone, folks have been hinting and speculating that Microsoft could follow up with its own handset—Windows Mobile partnerships be damned. So far, though, both Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates have remained adamant that Windows Mobile is all Microsoft's concerned about.

CNet News now quotes an analyst for Broadpoint AmTech who claims Microsoft is cooking up its own handset anyway, and it will base the device around Nvidia's Tegra system-on-a-chip. In case you missed all the buzz last year, Tegra is a tiny, 144 mm² SoC that includes an ARM11 processor core, a GeForce graphics core, and support for high-definition video decoding and encoding. Nvidia plans to release a second-generation Tegra chip this year, followed by a third-gen model in 2010.

Doug Freedman, the analyst, believes that the Microsoft device will be Nvidia's second design win after an upcoming Tegra-based HTC handset. He mitigates the prediction by noting, "it could turn out to be...a reference design Microsoft has used. That could be possible. . . . But we've also picked up that Microsoft is working on a phone themselves." Freedman speculates that Apple could use Tegra in a future iPhone, too, although that's less likely: Apple seems to be intent on developing iPhone chips in-house.

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