Tegra 4 and 4i chips

i500 LTE modem gains support for 150Mbps LTE with software update

At CTIA in Las Vegas, chipmaker NVIDIA has taken the opportunity to showcase the LTE capabilities of its upcoming Tegra 4i SoC, its mobile processor designed for mainstream smartphones. Announced back in February, Tegra 4i includes an integrated NVIDIA i500 LTE modem -- the new "soft modem" that can be reprogrammed over-the-air.

The CTIA demo we sat through saw Tegra 4i bumped from Cat 3 LTE (100Mbps) up to Cat 4 (150Mbps) with only a software update. In testing, the NVIDIA Phoenix reference phone was used in conjunction with an LTE testing unit designed to emulate a Cat 4 network. So we're not dealing with real-world radio conditions here, but it does show the potential of NVIDIA's new software-defined radios, as new hardware would usually be required for a jump between radio standards.

For what it's worth, we also watched Phoenix dutifully connected to AT&T's LTE network, which it was able to use to stream video and make voice calls, though the latter bumps down to 3G because no U.S. carrier has turned on Voice Over LTE yet.

There's still no sign of any consumer devices running Tegra 4i -- these aren't expected until early 2014. And real-world Cat 4 LTE networks are essentially non-existent at this point. Nevertheless, NVIDIA is ready, as is its programmable LTE modem.

Source: NVIDIA


Reader comments

NVIDIA demos Cat 4 LTE on Tegra 4i at CTIA


As great as this is im getting tired of these super advanced pieces of hardware coming out but we are nowhere near that kind of real world speed. It's exciting, but only for a second.

Edit: shouldn't have made that sound so negative. It really is fascinating stuff. I just can't wait to see real world hit even near 100mb speeds.

No one will know real world performance until it's in the real world. We have nothing to go on in tests but peak. That and marketing departments are always going to scream peak. Just relax and know that you'll be getting your gmail in a couple nanoseconds instead of a couple of milliseconds. Wow, are we becoming this impatient? ;-)

The big story here isn't the LTE speeds, as those are theoretical and don't account for overhead, distance, and backhaul. The story is that the modem is programmable OTA. That's a big deal for folks who don't want to buy a phone every year. Cat4 LTE networks are coming (T-Mobile is installing equipment that is upgradable to Cat4 from the jump), so phones that are capable of also supporting the spec are a good deal. This would avoid situations like T-Mobile selling a HSPA+ only GS3 and then adding an LTE model later. I know that if all other things were close, I would pick a phone with this chipset over others just for that capability.