Microsoft may release a smartphone based on Nvidia’s ARM-based Tegra chip, according to Broadpoint AmTech analyst Doug Freedman.
From the research note via GigaOM:
“we have been able to identify NVDA’s second handset design win for the Tegra Applications Processor (our Jan. 12th note identified HTC). We believe that Tegra is also designed into an upcoming Microsoft smartphone (with a Qualcomm baseband solution). We believe that MSFT may announce one of the new phones at 3GSM.”
Freedman further goes on to say that an HTC release would be more likely given Microsoft’s “lack of prior carrier relationships/handset qualification history” but “they’ve entered new markets (and) they clearly have a hardware business. Earlier today we reported that HTC handsets would ship in the second quarter running on Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon chip, similar to Tegra in that all of its components fit on one piece of silicon. Intel’s Atom, on the other hand, splits the processor and chipset into two separate components.
The analyst believes that the Microsoft smartphone could be released within the next 6 months and the company may announce something at the Mobile World Congress beginning February 16 in Barcelona.
With recent speculation that Microsoft could be launching an application store and mobile cloud-computing initiative, it would follow that a smartphone should materialize despite repeated denials by the company. Of further interest is the executive change-up that was announced yesterday. Former Zune exec Joe Belfiore and Windows Home Server general manager Charlie Kindel were both reassigned to the Windows Mobile Division. It’s long been assumed that if Microsoft were to release a standalone smartphone, it would integrate the Zune’s functionality in some form.
There’s plenty of evidence, as you can see, that a Microsoft smartphone is not fantastical thinking. And if it did run on Nvidia’s Tegra, the Windows Mobile operating system would likely get an impressive visual overhaul. Nvidia has only moved into the mobile industry in the past year or so after dominating the PC graphics industry for years. Its GeForce graphics processor is capable of amazing iPhone-like multitouch UI interaction, and according to CNET, “accelerometer-based reorienting 720p video,” among other things.
As a sidenote, Freedman also believes Nvidia’s Tegra could be used in a future iPhone. If that’s the case, look for it in a June release. I think any iPhone produced after 2009 will be Apple-made-and-manufactured inside and out.
(Image Credit: Nvidia)