NVIDIA Reveals More Kal-El, Windows 8 Details During Earnings Call

NVIDIA’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, Rob Csongor (Investor Relations), and Karen Burns (Interim CFO) hosted a conference call yesterday to discuss the company’s Q2 earnings for fiscal year 2012. The financial data looks good for NVIDIA, but the always outspoken Jen-Hsun Huang also revealed a few interesting bits of info regarding 28nm production, Kal-El, and Windows 8.

On the call, NVIDIA claimed revenue increased 5.7% to $1.02 billion from $962.0 million in the previous quarter. Using GAAP, net income was $151.6 million, or $0.25 per diluted share; non-GAAP net income was $193.5 million, or $0.32 per diluted share. GAAP gross margin increased to 51.7%, a record for the fourth consecutive quarter; non-GAAP gross margin increased to 51.9% percent, up from Q1's 50.6%.

Looking to the future, NVIDIA expects revenue to be up 4% - 6% from the second quarter, while GAAP and non-GAAP gross margins are likely to be flat. GAAP operating expenses are expected to be in the range of $361 million to $366 million; non-GAAP operating expenses are expected to be $319 million to $321 million. NVIDIA’s GAAP and non-GAAP tax rates are both expected to be between 15% - 17%.

Jen-Hsun Huang said, "We grew solidly this quarter." He continued, "Consumer demand for notebooks powered by our GeForce GPU, with its unique Optimus technology, resulted in record revenue for these products.”

After the earning’s call was over, a Q&A session began in which Jen-Hsun also spoke to a number of upcoming products and technologies. With regard to 28nm products, NVIDIA’s CEO said, "We have working silicon” and mentioned that production will be starting soon. He also said, “...it's looking really good, it's looking much, much better than our experience with 40-nanometer."

Jen-Hsun also went on to reveal a few details about Kal-El’s power characteristics. Just to recap, Kal-El is likely going to be the first quad-core mobile processor. The upcoming chip will be capable of outputting 1440P video content and NVIDIA claims it will deliver 5x the performance of Tegra 2 and ship with a 12-core GeForce GPU. According to Jen-Hsun, “...it's so much higher performance than Tegra 2 and at so much lower power. And very few people have internalized that Kal-El is lower power in every use case compared to Tegra 2. And so this is, it's really a great breakthrough based on the technology we call variable SMP, variable symmetric multiprocessing, that makes it possible for us to achieve much higher performance where performance is needed and much lower power in almost everything that you do.”

Currently, NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 SoC powers an array of Android-based devices. And Kal-El is likely to follow suit. However, NVIDIA’s quad-core Kal-El will also be appearing in some Windows 8-based devices. “I'm very bullish about Windows 8,” said Jen-Hsun, “I think it's going to be an amazing operating system. Windows 8 tablets and Windows 8 clam shells that Tegra is going into, I hope will translate into real growth for our company in the second half of next year.”