I think it’s clear at this point that Nvidia’s Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip is going to show up in quite a few iPad rivals this year. Acer, Asus, and Toshiba are just a few of the names involved. According to CNet News, Nvidia’s design wins are so significant that it’s received credit for them from an unlikely source: Texas Instruments, which has been licensing ARM technology since 1993.
Responding to a question from a financial analyst, TI Investor Relations VP Ron Slaymaker reportedly stated, "Nvidia, to their credit, was the first out with a dual-core applications processor. I believe they had a couple of months, maybe a quarter lead on our OMAP 4 product." He went on to say, "And again, them being first for customers that are trying to get out with tablet programs right away, especially some that are based upon the Android operating system, they’re the player, they were the first player out so there is a natural alignment there."
Now, Slaymaker did add that TI began sampling its dual-core Cortex-A9 product over a year ago and is already at the volume production stage. "In fact," he added, "[TI] is shipping to a customer that plans to ramp their tablet production based on OMAP 4." So, Nvidia has hardly kicked TI to the curb entirely.
Still, such a major player acknowledging Nvidia’s strength in this nascent market seems like a big deal. Nvidia’s original Tegra SoC had few adopters, and it’s taken some time for the Tegra 2 design wins to come to light. (Nvidia first announced Tegra 2 in January 2010.) With a strong product and apt timing, though, Nvidia really does appear to have entered the ranks of notable ARM SoC providers.