- Apple (AAPL): Google needs to out-gun Apple in mobile computing -- smartphones and tablets.
- Microsoft (MSFT): Google needs to out-gun Microsoft in traditional PCs and gaming.
- Facebook (FB): Google needs to become the main alternative to Facebook in social networking.
In the last few days, it appears that Google's weapon of choice to fight these three battles may be Nvidia (NVDA). Let me tell you why:
Apple and the iPhone/iPad: At the annual Google i/o developer conference last week, the Android development leadership was on stage and answered questions from the very large audience. One question was -- and I am paraphrasing -- what Google considers the biggest opportunity for Android going forward?
The answer from Google's Android engineering panel was that the GPU (graphical processing unit) has only recently been able to fully satisfactorily handle simply rendering the screen graphics. Now the challenge going forward is to find a use for the GPU to take on additional tasks, leaving the CPU to do fewer things.This follows a pattern we have just begun to see over the last year in supercomputing. If you look at the major scientific labs and research facilities -- from corporate to military -- you will see that more and more of them have suddenly starting adopting Nvidia GPUs as their source for massive computing power.
In this case, Google did not mention Nvidia's name. It is also clear, that in the near term, Google's main efforts in this field are bearing fruit with Qualcomm (QCOM), which has the lion's share of the 2013 design wins with Google and its partners. However, in speaking with Google's engineers at i/o, I got the lurking feeling that their longer-term engineering efforts -- well beyond 2013, starting near the end of 2014 and building massively in 2015 -- could be geared to a new GPU chipset with massive, almost supercomputer-like, GPU processing power. This would be the chipset that follows Nvidia's Tegra 4, which just entered production. Such a dramatically more powerful chipset would be available from Nvidia probably in late 2014. It would have GPU processing power orders of magnitude greater than anything else in the market.
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