NVIDIA chief: You can’t just put a phone OS on larger display and hope to compete with Apple’s iPad

Apple Online StoreIn a conference call with analysts yesterday, NVIDIA’s President and Chief Executive Officer Jen-Hsun Huang discussed Apple’s iPad. Some snippets:

We know at this point that the projects that we’re working on, particularly in the tablets, has taken longer than we expected and it has taken longer than we expected by a few months, but the important thing is that you can’t just build a tablet, you can’t just put an operating system on a tablet and hope that on a piece of glass and hope that you can compete against the iPad. The iPad is a wonderful product. If you’re going to give that wonderful product to run for its money, you better build something absolutely exquisite.

So, whether it’s the quality of the work of the craftsmanship that our teams are working on or the capabilities of these devices, they have to be absolutely groundbreaking or why would anybody come to buy them? So, I think that the extra time that was necessary to build these devices and build the operating system and all the applications and the system software necessary to do it, and obviously we’re not going to talk about what they are right now, but they are going to be absolutely magical.

There’s a lot of tablets that are going to get built that aren’t really going to ship. And everybody is building tablets because it’s just so important. This is such an important part of the future computing market. This isn’t a fad. It is clear now that touch computing and tablets is a wonderful way for a lot of consumers to enjoy contents and by being able to connect a wireless keyboard and a mouse, the difference between a tablet and a notebook is pretty marginal.

I think that going forward you are going to see this tablet device being quite disruptive to both notebook as well as entry desktop. So I think this is an important trend and that’s every single company I know is working on a tablet. There is card companies working on tablets, consumer electronics companies working on tablets, computer companies working on tablets, and communications companies working on tablets. I don’t remember the last time in the history of computing where a singular device is being worked on by all of the industries.

This is a revolutionary form factor and I think it’s a foregone conclusion this is going to be probably be the largest computing segment. Now, how much of the share depends on ultimately how delightful all of these tablets are being built are and I am just so glad that we decided not to go to market with tablets earlier but to wait and work and put all of our energy behind the next generation operating system and the team over group are working on it.

Andy Rubin and his team are working 24×7 and they are doing amazing work and I am just really, really delighted that we decided to focus and not spare it on current generation operating systems. So I think when you see it near future it will more than delight you. I think you’ll be shocked how wonderful it is.

I believe that mobile computing is the future of computing. I believe that the tablet form factor and touch is not a fad. I believe that this particular form factor is likely to be very, very disruptive to be traditional form factors of computing. If you gave somebody a choice between a netbook and a tablet, and a wonderful tablet, why would anybody choose a netbook? So, the logic I think at this point is pretty clear and people see the trends. How big is it going to be to us depends on how well we execute.

The iPad is not your normal device waiting around for somebody to beat it, I mean, this is an extraordinary device. If you want to build something that is desirable and even more desirable to some other customers. You’ve got to build something great. You’re not just going to put a phone operating system on a larger display and ship it, you’re just not.

Read more in the full conference call transcript here.


  1. @mstud if you over simplify it, yes, they took a phone OS and put it on a bigger screen… except, going more in detail, they took a phone OS, made it iOS and tailored specifically for two different devices. It’s easy to write-off of the differences as “popovers and splitview” but there is a little bit more to it than that.
    With the Galaxy Tab, at least as far as I’ve read, the OS is literally the same, no differences, no customizations, just scaled up… I could be wrong though.

  2. The iPad was in their minds all along. Looks like they knew long before the iPhone was launched, that iPhone OS would eventually cross paths with the Mac OS.

    One streamlined OS with only modern APIs, using two (or three, or more) UIs depending on the particular device’s unique requirements.

  3. It might look the same but you have to look at the coding is a bit different.

    This guy gets it. You have to give props to him for acknowledging the fact that they behind the ball on releasing a product worthy of competition.

  4. Apple has worked on the iPad for many years before it even was introduced and some companies are trying to match it in 6mos? Please. Apple was the first to come out with this form factor and it will be hard to catch them. And now, Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Verizon, AT&T and Sam’s Club are selling them. Like Steve Jobs said during the Q4 conference call, they’re out to win this one. And the funny thing is …once some of these new tablets come out, Apple will drop the iPad 2 and others will have to go back to the drawing board.

  5. Huang is just sucking up to Apple hoping they would buy their NVIDIA company since AMD bought ATI.

    Apple did place the iPhone OS on a larger screen device, big deal, so what?

    Does the legions of iFad users care? Of course not.

    All the iFad-ers want is a shiny new electronic toy and care about little else.

    The fact is that shine wears off and then somehow that device just tends to sit around longer and longer, eventually going unused as it’s not as shiny and attractive as it used to be.

    In fact I’ve seen the sour pusses on some older iPhone users faces knowing that their cracked/scratch screen iPhones still have 18 months left in their contract.

    I laugh at them all. Such fools they are.

  6. Its amazing how everyone knocked the introduction of the iPad the same way Ballmer knocked the iPhone. Now everyone and their mother has built an iPhone wannabe and they are rushing to produce their iPad wannabes. The problem is that so many do not have the vision or the capacity to invent truly unique products, and they will add only a few missing iPad features and tout it as a “killer!”

  7. @ disposable.. You would need to search for the quote out there, but from my memory, Jobs said they actually built the OS to be used on a tablet and had the eureka momment that it would work great for a phone. So technically the tablet came before the phone.

    @observer … Since i don’t own the iPad can you tell me what this popovers and splitview is? IDK that i know these things. I have played with the ipad in an apple store a few times but idk what this is.

    thanks for the education.

  8. When Apple begins to deploy its iPad Pro Notebook killers, the lead will be even more demonstrable. No one will own a notebook, let alone a POS netbook. Tower and mini-macs will run as home back-up systems for data storage, but the Pads will dominate mobile, corporate and home life.

    When Apple surpasses Microsoft as the OS of choice in the next few years, virus writers will focus on Macs. But since macs will only be used for back up and storage, Apple’s walled garden will become a savior for the burgeoning mobile computing world.

    Apple’s lead in the mobile computing market should be comfortably maintained at a mininum of 40% market-share long-term (5-years); and anywhere from 70 to 80% of the market-share short term (next 2 years).

  9. @mstud:
    iOS was designed for tablets, but later scaled down for iPhone to enable market-entry for this radically new operating system and usage paradigm. IPad is not a scaled up iPod touch. iPod touch/iPhone are scaled down versions of an early iPad prototype.

  10. The Nvidia CEO is not just a competitor in the smartphone and tablet space to Apple, he’s also a supplier of video GPUs to Apple and a big fan as he has all Apple stuff at home. So, he has to walk a fine line.

  11. @ Often Right but Not This Time,

    “In fact I’ve seen the sour pusses on some older iPhone users faces knowing that their cracked/scratch screen iPhones still have 18 months left in their contract.”

    Older iPhone users faces, still have 18 months left. iPhone 4 is the newer iPhone, right? So the older iPhone would be the iPhone 3 G and 3 GS, right? So how many 3 G and 3 GS iPhone owners, outside of Canada, can there be with 18 months left on a 2 year contract?

    Damn few, that’s how many. Now, subtract the number who do not have scratched or cracked surfaces and how many are left? Sweet tweet, that’s how many. The owners of cracked or scratched 3 G or 3 GS iPhones could all fit in a Dodge Caravan, that’s how many.

    So what are the chances of you seeing the sour pusses on some of the older iPhone users faces who still have 1.5 years left on their 2 year contract?

    Excuse me if you hear me calling BULLSHIT!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.