Nvidia’s Tegra 4i, designed to work with a variety of 3G and 4G wireless networks, was first introduced just ahead of Mobile World Congress back in February. The chip was billed as a cheaper alternative to the original Tegra 4 although it did include one noteworthy feature: it carries a software-defined LTE radio that allows Nvidia to modify it with a simple software update.
That’s exactly what Nvidia has done with the Tegra 4i, boosting the chip’s 4G LTE network speed from 100Mbps to 150Mbps, or what’s collectively known as LTE-Advanced. What’s more, Nvidia said another update will allow the chip to support voice over LTE (VoLTE) although at last check, that technology consumed up to two times as much power as a standard 2G call.
All of this, Nvidia claims, will make their chip more future-proof than the competition.
Carriers will begin to roll out the speedier 4G LTE-Advanced network standard later this year. That said, smartphones carrying Nvidia’s Tegra 4i are still a ways off. The company recently said they are going through the certification process with AT&T – a process that was described as lengthy. As such, we probably shouldn’t expect to see Tegra 4i-powered handsets until sometime in the first part of 2014 at the earliest.
It’ll be an uphill fight for Nvidia when the chip does arrive, however, as competition from other mobile chipset providers is fierce. But with a mid-range mindset, perhaps Nvidia can steal some market share while the big players continue to fight for control at the high end.