Rumor: Nvidia to produce reference tablets, smartphones for rebranding

Nvidia's efforts in the mobile world have largely been confined to producing Tegra processors for smartphone and tablet makers. However, according to Russian site Mobile Review, the company will soon branch out and start producing complete tablets and smartphones based on those chips. These systems will reportedly resemble white-label designs, and they'll apparently be offered to other firms to sell as their own, either with or without Nvidia branding. Word is that the devices will target the low end of the spectrum, so they probably won't compete with the iPad or iPhone. It looks like the focus may be on markets outside North America, at least to start.

Left to right: Samsung's Galaxy S III, Google's Nexus 7, and Asus' Transformer Pad Infinity. Source: TR.

The article outlines good reasons for Nvidia to produce its own devices.  However, the translation I'm reading seems to stop short of providing specific evidence or citing sources. (My hastily Photoshopped spy shot doesn't count.) Instead, Mobile Review seems to be saying that a bunch of very similar 7" and 10" tablets will hit the market in the May-June timeframe. I guess we won't have to wait too long to see if the story is legit.

Now, it wouldn't be completely out of character for Nvidia to produce turnkey products for others to brand as their own. The company has done just that with certain graphics cards, including the GeForce GTX 690. For a time, it also made motherboards that were ready for repackaging by other firms. Building a tablet would be a little different, but Nvidia surely gained some valuable experience on that front by developing its Project Shield gaming handheld, which combines a Tegra 4 processor with a 5" screen and a console-style controller.

Nvidia would risk alienating some of its customers by producing devices that ultimately compete with their products. However, it could also gain customers who lack the resources to produce their own. I suspect some carriers might be interested in slapping their logos on reference smartphones, tablets, and even set-top boxes. It sure would be nice if those devices were all equipped to offer a good streaming gaming experience from a local PC.  Thanks to PC Perspective for the tip.

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