Nvidia Says First Quad-Core Chips in Tablets Coming in August

Nvidia Corp., trying to steal ahead of Qualcomm Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc., said it will sell the first quad-core chips running computer tablets in August.

Smartphone models based on the faster chip, the Kal-El, will follow by the end-of-year holiday shopping season, the company said today in a presentation at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona.

Nvidia Chief Executive Officer Jen-Hsun Huang is trying to recast his company as a provider of chips for mobile devices, lessening its reliance on graphics for personal computers. The company is locked in a fight with Qualcomm and Texas Instruments to bring increasingly powerful processors to the market faster.

“It’s the only quad-core available,” said the head of Nvidia’s mobile business Philip J. Carmack.

In the last two weeks Qualcomm, the largest maker of chips for phones, and Texas Instruments, said they will have quad-core chips in devices starting next year. Building more processors into the same piece of silicon enables the chip to better perform multiple tasks simultaneously.

Nvidia shares have surged 46 percent since Jan. 1 following announcements of products based on its Tegra 2 processors. That rise makes Nvidia the second-best performer on the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, which tracks the performance of 30 industry stocks.

On Jan. 5 at the Consumer Electronics Show, Nvidia said that LG Electronics Inc. will use its Tegra 2 processor in its Optimus 2X phones. Nvidia didn’t identify customers for the Kal- El processor -- which was Superman’s name as boy -- or say whether it will come to market as Tegra 3.

The Santa Clara, California-based company, which reports earnings tomorrow, fell 56 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $22.55 at 4 p.m. on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ian King in San Francisco at ianking@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles@bloomberg.net

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