Nvidia announced Thursday its Icera 410 LTE modem chipset for notebooks and tablets has officially been approved to run on AT&T’s 4G LTE network, a milestone for the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip maker that could give way to Nvidia Icera-powered mobile devices as soon as this year.
The Icera 410, according to Nvidia, is now one of just a select few multimode LTE modems to have been approved for use on AT&T’s 4G networks. To earn this distinction, modem chipsets have to pass through a set of "rigorous" certification tests to ensure they integrate and perform seamlessly with a range of mobile devices.
For Nvidia, the 410’s certification is a move that could significantly broaden its play in the mobile device market over the next few years.
"Validation with AT&T is an achievement that paves the way for Nvidia Icera-powered LTE devices on the AT&T network through this year and next," said Stan Boland, senior vice president of Mobile Communications at Nvidia, in a statement.
Nvidia said the Icera 410 LTE modem delivers "lightning-fast" video streaming, web browsing and gaming on both tablet and clamshell devices. Coupled with its multimode radio transceiver, the chipset delivers 4G at category two data rates -- or up to 50 Mbps -- and is also compatible with 4G HSPA+, 3G, and 2G networks.
The Icera 410 LTE chipset was added to Nvidia’s product lineup last May when it acquired Icera, a U.K.-based Baseband chip maker. The $367 million deal gave Nvidia access to Icera’s more than 550 patents for 3G and 4G wireless modem components, and positioned Nvidia to offer not only chipsets that power smartphones and tablets but also their wireless connectivity capabilities as well.
"This is a key step in Nvidia's plans to be a major player in the mobile computing revolution," said Jen-Hsun Huang, Nvidia's president and CEO, in a statement announcing the merger.
In a similar effort to jump on the mobile computing bandwagon, Nvidia launched in November its next-generation Tegra 3 processors, based on its low-power, quad-core architecture optimized for tablets and smartphones. Tegra 3 is said by the company to deliver up to three times the graphics performance of its predecessor, Tegra 2, with up to 61 percent less power consumption.
Nvidia also announced in February a new partnership with cellular silicon manufacturers GCT Semiconductor and Renesas Mobile that married 4G LTE modems with its Tegra 3 chips. The alliance, it said, will cut down on its OEM partners’ time-to-market with LTE-ready, Tegra 3-powered mobile devices.