Dec 14 AT 3:38 PM Taylor Wimberly 31 Comments

Samsung places sizeable order with NVIDIA for Tegra 2 smartphones

I think I know why Gingerbread was delayed for over a month and there were rumors of dual-core Nexus S phones. Samsung Mobile didn’t have a dual-core processor for their own smartphones so they wanted to push back the release of Android 2.3 to buy more time to catch up with their competitors like LG. Samsung had an exclusive on the release of Android 2.3 and used it to their advantage.

During the time that Gingerbread was pushed back, Samsung went shopping for the best dual-core processor that’s currently available and that happens to be NVIDIA’s Tegra 2. A report from Citigroup analyst Glen Yeung suggest that Samsung, “placed a sizeable order with Nvidia for Tegra 2 chips in the first half of 2011, geared for both tablets and smartphones.”

The Tegra 2 order is so big ($250 million to $350 million) that it’s more than the current full-year 2011 estimate of  some analysts who were predicting revenue of $275 million. This backs up the Digitimes report from yesterday that said Samsung was going with Tegra 2 for Android tablets.

Now that Samsung has access to the Tegra 2 processor, they can use it in their Honeycomb tablet and next Gingerbread phone. The initial wave of dual-core phones are still expected to ship with Android 2.2 since Google hasn’t released the source code for Android 2.3 yet.

This means that Samsung’s competitors either delay their phones to launch with Android 2.3 or they will go ahead with Android 2.2 and then update them after launch. Samsung’s engineers have been working closely with Google on Gingerbread for the Nexus S and we think they will have no problems getting it on a dual-core phone.

How fast do you think Samsung could sling out a Tegra 2 phone with Gingerbread? They are the world’s largest conglomerate company and the top producer of Android phones so now we get to see them flex their muscles.

Could we actually see a Tegra 2 smartphone and tablet in a couple weeks at CES in January? Mobile World Congress in February? Or is it CTIA in March?

Source: Barron's

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Sax M

    They are screwing over the users with these kind of staggered product launches!

  • GRAW

    Whoo! nVidia Tegra2 ftw!

  • http://Website TechnoSTIG

    But what about Orion?

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Orion is still coming, but it got pushed back. This Tegra 2 order is for first half devices so sounds like Orion could be second half of 2011.

      • http://Website Steve

        The use of the Tegra 2 as a stop gap for the Orion is interesting. I know they had an orion on display in September and October. I wonder what the problem is with the chip that it’s not going to launch until 3Q 2011. Since Apple has been sourcing its A4 from Samsung (and is essentially a watered down hummingbird) and Apple runs hot and cold with Nvidia (major issues with Nvidia GeForce GPU’s in macbooks), I wonder if the Orion issue will delay Apple in launching a dual core iPhone 5/iPad 2—interesting to see if that shifts some consumers away from Apple.

  • http://Website Alan W


    Could this mean that the dual core Nexus S is still alive but not yet ready for release? A stock android dual core phone would be awesome.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      No I don’t think you will see a dual-core Nexus S, but there is always hope for a dual-core “Nexus Two” since that name is still available. Samsung will likely put Tegra 2 in the Galaxy 2.

      • http://Website Manuel

        I think we’ll have a dual-core Nexus 3 with Android 3 (Ice cream?) in Q4 2011.

  • Evan

    Taylor, why is assumed that since the source code hasn’t been released, it’s not accessible to other handset makers? I’m pretty sure, all (or most of the major) manufacturers in the OHA have access to Gingerbread, source and all for sometime now. OHA members contribute to Android’s codebase for released and unreleased versions of Android.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I assume that because it’s a story I’ve heard repeated over and over. Where are the other Gingerbread phone leaks? All we know of is the Nexus S.

  • http://Website Anthony

    Ok the question is why buy a nexus s when its obvious the fact that samsung is purchasing dual core chips. The nexus s is already dated and get this before its on the shelf. I wonder do they think were ATM machines. The arrogance of them to do this hello we read android and me!

    • http://Website Brandon

      stock android?

  • http://Website zedklind

    gotta love california and its 30day return policy :D

  • http://Website Jay

    ^Why do you need a dual core phone that bad? Hummingbird’s single core is plenty beast enough and its GPU us awesome. Besides I trust and love Google’s software support. The Nexus S isn’t dated at all, there’s no better hardware out right now And wont be for another 2 months. And you wont see any AMOLED screens either besides Sammy made products, Nexus has the awesome SAMOLED. I dont look to game on my phone so im gonna get the Nexus S which will be supported for a long time instead of relying on manufacturers like LG who I dont trust anyway. And besides that the PowerVR GPU in Hummingbird is plenty capable anyway. Sure the lack of SD card hurts but whatever. I can survive without dual core and 4G even as a power user, my Nexus 1 is still godly. I can survive without a notification light but ugh.

    • http://Website anthony

      Jay I get ur point. I also have a nexus one and I’m interested in the nexus s. I like the larger screen and hate the sometime nexus one touchscreen issues im sure you know what I mean. I just don’t know if its worth the trade considering we will be updated to gingerbread very soon.

    • Scotter

      No 4G, no dual core, no SD card slot, and finally, the biggest deal killer for me: No notification light. I really depend on that light to tell me if I have messages so I’m not having to turn the phone’s screen on all the time. No sale.

  • http://Website ANDEE

    Many of these hardcore android fans say Nexus S is a fail. Nexus S isn’t a failure itself just because it doesn’t meet your expectation. If there is many symptoms like yellow burnt spot on the screen, switched volume key, broken GPS, loose hinge, and or death grip on Nexus S we may call it a failure, but no we haven’t found out any of those symptoms yet.

    There are plenty of consumers who were saving up their money to purchase decent Android device at the end of this year. So they get to buy Nexus S instead of Galaxy S; what’s so bad about it? Just because some Android fans didn’t get to taste dual-core processor does not mean it’s a bad phone.

    Nexus One was introduced to level up the hardware specification, and Google said it. The thing about Nexus S is that Google never said it will bring another leveled up hardware standardization instead they introduced 2.3 Gingerbread; and that’s what Nexus S is about, the 2.3 Gingerbread.

    If you don’t think it’s worth upgrading from Nexus One or w/e android device you have please don’t. They are plenty of people who don’t own android yet, and they will buy Nexus S which is currently the most optimized Pure Google phone yet.

    • http://Website Hans


    • http://Website max

      don’t get me wrong the samsung nexus s is THE BEST PHONE to date problem is its only going to keep that title for a couple of months. If you were waiting and saving up for an android phone wouldn’t you wait a little bit longer and get one that is twice as fast with 5 times the graphics power. sure the nexus s is plenty fast enough but thats what people were saying about the 486 when they came out.

  • Gomez

    I agree the Nexus S is what I recommend my friends coming into android. I own a nexus one so I will not upgrade but my wife has a mt3g which I’m considering upgrading her to the nexus s or a galaxy tab on skype.

    • Scotter

      Yes, the Galaxy S MAY be the best phone you can buy right now (unless you want faster data transmission so you buy one of the currently available 4G phones or unless you want a bigger screen so you buy a 4.3″ phone or unless you want more memory so you buy a phone with an SD card slot or unless you want one of the many phones that has a notification light or unless you want a phone with HDMI-out…).

      But this phone’s lifespan as “top phone” is going to be very very short. The key is to buy a phone that has more than 2 month lifespan as “top phone”. And the fact is that you only have to wait a maximum of 2-3 more months to get that phone.

  • http://Website Charlotte

    maybe next sammie could place a big old order of 2.2 for the US Galaxy S phones. assholes. I want to play Rocket Bunnies.

    • http://Website zedklind

      guess my comment either got removed or didnt post.. anyways.. found out it wont sideload on the galaxy s. :(

      • http://Website zedklind

        it started working.. just sideload it haha. weird.. didnt work on first boot but now it is

  • http://Website rob

    Ha shipping with 2.2 and then updating to 2.3, guess I will be waiting for 6 months before purchasing a new android phone from Samsung…I mean consider how they’ve handled the upgrade from 2.1 to 2.2 …way to go Samsung!!! I think it’s time to start giving motorolla a look

  • http://Website UniqueNate

    I really want to see the difference between Orion and Tegra 2. I think I will wait until mid summer or something. That’s a while from now but that’s something I know I can do. Sammy does some weird things that make you feel two faced about them but they also do some awesome things.

    Personally I do not think the Nexus 2 was a fail. It’s awesome. It’s the top phone of this year. Has the latest specs of this year. Any phone can have T2 in it but that alone won’t make a phone. I bet it will determine a lot but it won’t make a phone. The Olympous showed blurr on it. What’s the difference between that and any Moto phone now? The T2 inside it. Would you still want it? My point is that the new upcoming phones will be awesome but nothing out the ordinary we haven’t known yet. It will just overall perform better. Until some Honeycomb comes out and we merge that with these beastly dual cores and maybe some breakthrough feature added, then we can be blown away. Don’t get me wrong. I will be more then happy to welcome some dual cores to the game.

    A lot is going to be introduced next year but I won’t be quick to hop on. Next year will be interesting

  • http://Website UniqueNate

    I also hope they put a Orion in the Galaxy 2. The Galaxy phone is still well known and a Tegra 2 Galaxy would be a little weird not follow up with your own stuff. They should wait until August for the sequel to their Flagship phone or whenever the Orion chips are ready.

  • http://Website ACR

    Nvidia almost finished with Tegra 3. You guys might want to just skip Gingerbread and Tegra 2 all together.

  • http://Website Mike

    Tegra 4 is almost ready to be worked on, and Tegra 3 is pretty much almost finished. I don’t see why Nvidia won’t just scratch Tegra 2 and just release Tegra 3 soon.

    Plus I don’t think Tegra 2 is the best dual core CPU out. Qualcomm’s dual core snapdragon, and Orion are already “out” in tester’s hands and we haven’t seen any benchmarks for them yet, so to say Tegra 2 is the best is a pretty bold statement to make.

    The Galaxy S scored 55.7 FPS on neocore, and the LG Star scored 67 FPS. Since Hummingbird (for a single core) scored fairly close to Tegra 2 (dual core), wouldn’t it be very likely that Orion will be a hell of a lot better than Tegra 2, since it is a huge improvement over Hummingbird?? I believe Orion is supposed to offer 5 times the performance of Hummingbird, so this seems like a very stupid move on Samsung’s part if they’re going with Nvidia.

    • http://Website ACR

      You know Galaxy S and Nexus are capped at 56FPS? I think it does around 70+FPS w/o the limit. They should of used Nenamark with OpenGL ES 2.0. All these GPUs support OpenGL ES 2.0, yet they keep benchmarking them with OpenGL ES 1.1 or Neocore.

  • http://Website thedesolatesoul

    What does this mean: “The Tegra 2 order is so big ($250 million to $350 million) that it’s more than the current full-year 2011 estimate of some analysts who were predicting revenue of $275 million.”

    How is IP ordered? I thought it is licensed?