At CTIA 2013, NVIDIA is demonstrating its 4G LTE modem capability of the Tegra 4i processor with integrated modem and the i500 stand-alone modem. You may recall that NVIDIA did a similar demonstration at Mobile World Congress when they showed a CAT3 100Mbps LTE link , but this time, the chip-maker has pushed the envelope by connecting their modems to a CAT4 150Mbps LTE link.
Although there are no commercial CAT4 LTE networks yet, the point of the demonstration was to show that NVIDA’s modem can adapt to new networks and protocols without requiring hardware changes and this could be a critical time-to-market advantage in the future.
If you are not familiar with Tegra 4i and the NVIDIA i500 stand-alone modem, they are both fully programmable modems (or “soft modems”) powered by an array of Deep Execution Processors (DXP). Their programmable nature makes it possible to build a modem in a smaller footprint, which means substantial savings in semiconductor die area (chip size), and ultimately better competitiveness.
NVIDIA also demonstrated its Tegra 4i chip running on AT&T’s network. Beyond the credibility that it will gain by showing its 4G technology running on a live commercial network, the company will probably want to remember its potential customers that its modem is among the few that have passed AT&T’s qualifications. When LTE is not available, the Tegra 4i modem can fall back to 3G and 2G.