Nvidia, the jolly green goblin from Taiwan, was very jolly indeed at this year's Cebit. On Wednesday evening Optimus Nvidia invited a ton of customers, resellers and a handful of journos to a bash in the Münchner Halle, where everyone had a fun time acting Bavarian.
Thanks to the combined efforts of all attendees, Nvidia managed to score over 400 bottles on the Jaegermeister benchmark, thoroughly outperforming the competition. Denmark's Atea, who topped the benchmark last year, were left to bite the dust, faen! The win made PR guy Luciano Alibrandi's evening sweeter, who was also celebrating his tenth anniversary working for Nvidia.
The GTX 560i was shown running Bulletstorm and Crysis 2 in 3D as smooth as butter, the 550 is set for release to satisfy the lower end of the market. Last year Fermi and its late release was a big discussion point and Tegra was there, yet still on the horizon in term of products. Nvidia was still mainly focusing on the graphics market.
One year later, the picture has changed. Nvidia told TechEye it is becoming more and more a mobile company, orientating itself in the market with its Tegra products. A lot of makers are churning out tablets based on Tegra 2, whilst a handful of smartphones will be hitting the market sooner than later. On display was an LG Optimus handset hooked up to an 81" telly running various games and videos, alongside various tablets and Ionised notebooks from Asus, Acer etc.
Nvidia believes the market will shift to mobile devices which will increasingly replace notebooks and large tower PCs. Tablets and phones will become what Germans call an "eierlegende Wollmilchsau", an egg-laying wool and milk providing porker you can roast on a spit.
Or, simply put, a unified and more-or-less unified device. Consumers and office workers will carry around a smartphone and connect it at home with a notebook, or a telly.
At this year's Cebit, Skype, email accounts and the Cebit2Go app featuring a full exhibitor list were accessed by Techeye mainly using a smartphone, instead of using a notebook. People increasingly desire near-instant access to communication and content, without the hassle of having to lug around a notebook and wait what feels like an eternity until the OS has booted.
The recent agreement with ARM is symptomatic of Nvidia's effort to push into this area. Nvidia's main problem will be to shove its desktop graphics down the milliwatt throat, a big challenge. Ask Intel, it's Atom always loses in the milliwatt arena to ARM-based SoC's. In the phone and mobile device market, Nvidia will have to catch up with Imagination Technologies.
Nvidia will certainly not abandon the desktop market, or even the high-performance computing market, where CUDA remains "unbeaten", to quote a wise sage from a rather large German computer and technology magazine. Nonetheless, entering the mobile device arena is a good albeit challenging bet for the company. After all, Intel enjoys trying to choke it off with its integrated graphics, despite not being a graphics company.