Nvidia is a very successful graphics chip maker. Two years ago they purchased PortalPlayer, who make chips for Apple's iPod, for $357 million dollars. Many in the industry wondered where Nvidia was going with the acquisition. Wonder no more. They've introduced their APX 2500, a computing chip designed for today's multimedia-ready/web-browsing mobile phones.
The chip is based on the ARM11 core, and can run at up to 750MHz. It can encode and decode 720p high-definition video, meaning you could use a phone based on the APX 2500 as both a high-definition player and camcorder. Nvidia also added some of its GeForce graphics technology that was designed for low-power devices, which allows 3D user interfaces to run on the chip, Rayfield said.
Nvidia is pushing the APX 2500 as the fastest way for handset makers to build a smartphone based on Windows Mobile. Right now, Windows Mobile appeals more to corporate smartphone users, but according to Rayfield, Microsoft is planning to make the next version of the operating system much more consumer-friendly. Nvidia designed its chip in collaboration with Microsoft, and the next version of the operating system will be able to exploit technology within Nvidia's chip, he said.
The chip market for smart phones has many well-established manufacturers like Texas Instruments, but Nvidia's got one thing going for them: they know how to display video. A phone that can't display video will seem as strange as a bag phone in the near future. Nvidia's betting on it.