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Nvidia Chip Update Narrows PC-Smartphone Gap to Target Gamers

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang
Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and chief executive office of Nvidia Corp., speaks during a press conference at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Jan. 5, 2014. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Nvidia Corp., trying to expand into mobile phone parts, will begin selling an updated processor that narrows the gap in graphics between personal computers and mobile devices.

The chip will open up smartphones and other handheld devices as a market for more advanced video games, Chief Executive Officer Jen-Hsun Huang said at an event in Las Vegas yesterday. The K1 version of the chipmaker’s Tegra range will feature elements from its Kepler graphics design for PCs.

Nvidia is challenging Qualcomm Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. as it seeks to boost sales of chips for mobile devices and lessen its dependence on high-end PCs favored by gamers. The Santa Clara, California-based company said it had sales of $111.2 million from its Tegra business in the most recent quarter, double the preceding period and down 54 percent from a year earlier.

“The benefits to game developers are immense,” Huang said at a press conference ahead of the International Consumer Electronics Show. “This is real-time computer graphics on a little mobile chip.”

Nvidia delayed the debut of Tegra 4 to speed up its efforts to bring another model, Tegra 4i which has an integrated cellular connection, to the market. Nvidia had total sales of $1.05 billion in the three months ended in October.

The updated chip will come in two versions, one with processor elements using ARM Holdings Plc cores and one with the company’s own Denver core design, Huang said. The design is capable of processing data in 64-bit chunks, like modern computer processors. Most mobile phone processors still work with 32-bit pieces of information.

Nvidia shares, up 31 percent in 2013, declined 1.2 percent to $15.67 at the close in New York on Jan. 3.

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