updated 09:10 am EST, Fri December 2, 2011
NVIDIA goal of 25m Tegra 2s not met
A shortfall in NVIDIA's chip sales could be a sign of problems for both the Tegra 3 and for Android as a whole. Purported insiders claimed to Digitimes that the chip designer wouldn't make a target of 25 million Tegra 2 processors shipped. Difficulty getting more wins away in smartphones from Qualcomm's Snapdragon were a problem, but the inability of Android tablets to compete with the iPad was also supposedly impacting numbers.
While Tegra 2 chips are only a small piece of the Android smartphone market and are in phones like the original Atrix or the T-Mobile G2X, they make up about 75 percent of all truly native Android tablets on the market, the tipsters said. The original Motorola Xoom, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and many models from Acer, ASUS, Dell, LG, and others all run the exact same processor. Motorola has had to drop shipments to 100,000, while a normally very number-focused Samsung has never said how well the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has sold.
The expectations gap led to doubts that NVIDIA could reach 25 million for the Tegra 3 in 2012. It may get off to a better start with ASUS Transformer Prime shipments, but it's not clear how many will support Tegra 3 beyond Acer or how well they will sell. Early benchmarks show that the Tegra 3 is sometimes slower than an iPad 2 and may lose in objective speed tests.
Some of the gap may simply come from Google diversifying the processor base for Android 4.0. Android 3.0 launched with the Tegra 2 as a virtual requirement because of Google's rush to get an iPad competitor on the market, only diversifying in later builds. Android 4.0 supports more processors as a whole and first arrived on TI OMAP chips.