“I’m dying to have Tegra phones and Tegra tablets. I’ve invested well over a billion dollars building it, now I’d like to enjoy it.”
So said Jen-Hsun Huang, Nvidia’s CEO, at this morning’s “fireside” chat with Quentin Hardy, where he talked about the future of computing, and where his company fit into it.
“I think you’re going to see companies like Motorola, HTC, and Samsung going nuts trying to fulfill demand for a new category of devices called superphones,” said Huang about this upcoming holiday season.
“The Droid X is a good example of that. Lots of technology, enthusiasts clamoring all over it. Because the average revenue per user is very high, carriers love it, and will subsidize it more, so then you’re getting this amazing technology at a low price.”
Aside from smart phones, tablets have rolled out faster than anyone thought, and are disrupting the PC industry, Huang said. “We’ve got to get our tablets done. We need to get other tablets into the marketplace to fill niches and capabilties the iPad doesn’t provide.” He was cagey on a timeline, though: when asked if they’d be ready by Christmas, is answer was “we’ll do our best.”
“There is no question that in the next five years, we will see an enormous disruption in the computer industry,” Huang said. Citing the fact that Blockbuster is filing for bankruptcy at the same time that Netflix is booming, he said that the computer industry will have to reevaluate everything, from the type of processors used to the design of PCs, to the best method of distribution.
“Do I buy a computer from a service provider at AT&T, or at Best Buy? That question that I just asked will change the computer industry,” Huang said.
“I was just noticing I was carrying my PC around all week, but haven’t booted it yet,” he said. In another year, that would no longer be an issue, he said, as everything would shift to mobile devices, but the technology needed to catch up. Pulling his BlackBerry from his pocket, he said, “I would like this computer to have a higher resolution. Suppose HDMI was wireless, and I could beam things to a TV.”
The way applications are designed is also an “interesting problem” for software designers, he said. “How much of the experience should be put into the cloud, and how much should be put in the client,” Huang asked. “Should it be more iTunes-like, or more like Pandora?”
When Nvidia began, the company’s focus was focused solely on creating products for visual applications, such as gaming, Huang said. Now, 65 percent is concentrated on parallel computing, as the uses for GPUs have expanded to include more disciplines, and even visual applications are using the GPU in different ways. In the future, Huang said that the company’s focus will have to be much more on mobile computing, and ways to do more using less energy.