Interview with Nvidia chief shows where netbooks, smartphones, and game consoles may be going in a "1-watt world"


Dean Takahashi's interview with Nvidia head honcho Jen-Hsun Huang offers a glimpse into what to expect from low-powered internet-enabled devices of the future. Nvidia's new "Ion" platform, which weds an Intel Atom processor to an Nvidia graphic chip, probably doesn't make Intel very happy—they'd rather be selling the GPU, too—but Huang knows that Intel might still be too big to throw their weight around to prevent Ion from getting to market.

Some highlights that indicate Huang has his head screwed on straight:

Q: Is there a place for a $250, full-keyboard device that uses ARM processors?
A: I think there is, but I think the price is less than $199. It has a full keyboard, it’s thin and it runs for a long time on batteries. It has a one-watt microprocessor. I believe this whole segment will have versions like the iPod Touch, the Sony PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo DS. I believe mobile internet devices will access the internet and come in a lot of different form factors, like phones, notepads and game player.


Q: There is only one proof point for that. It’s the iPhone. From one company. Why will these devices succeed across the board?
A: There is the Google Android. The Palm Pre. A few points makes a line.


Q: You don’t think it will be one chip?
A: I don’t think so. Intel has slipped its schedule on its (code-named) Havendale single-chip chip set. The problem is that CPUs and GPUs are both progressing. You can’t catch up on both with just one that tries to do both. And why not try to do it at the low end? AMD’s problem is that they are putting the high-end CPU with the high-end GPU. Who’s going to buy that?

Q: Microsoft, for the Xbox 720?
A: That’s cold. (laughs). That’s cold.

I tend to shy from business stories, especially executive interviews, but this one's a keeper. I actually feel like I have a good vision of the Nvidia roadmap for the next couple of years now.

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