NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 + LTE chipset won’t be arriving until 2013, unfortunately in the latest report from the company. The current Tegra 3, which is described by its maker as a 4 + 1 architecture, is based on ARM’s reference design and combines a powerful processor with NVIDIA’s GeForce graphics engine. Unfortunately, due to the lack of 4G LTE integration, device manufacturers such as HTC have opted to eschew the Tegra 3 CPU from devices in 4G LTE markets, like the U.S., in order to offer better network compatibility with carriers.
One such example is the HTC One X, which is released internationally as an HSPA+ device with a quad-core Tegra 3 processor. In the U.S., the phone is arriving on AT&T as the AT&T One X and on Sprint as the HTC EVO 4G LTE variant, with a dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU from Qualcomm instead due to that chip’s better compatibility with U.S. carriers’ 4G network support.
However, due to NVIDIA’s partnerships, other radio partners can create independent radios and modems to bring LTE support to devices, but NVIDIA won’t offer integrated native LTE support on the chipset until next year. An integrated solution that combines the radio/modem onto the processor, known as an SoC, would reduce the space required on the phone and may lead to better performance and better battery life.
In the company’s earnings call, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang revealed that third-party LTE radios may even arrive later than you’d think, suggesting that there may be possible delays. Those chips will be arriving “towards the end of the year,” according to a report on The Verge.
In addition to NVIDIA’s quad-core chipset, Huawei has announced its own K3V2 quad-core processor and rival Samsung is using its own quad-core Exynos CPU on its Galaxy S III flagship. Right now, the big hurdle for non-Qualcomm chips seem to be network compatibility with 4G LTE carriers in the U.S.