Licensing its technology will help the company expand its reach to even more devices and markets
NVIDIA announced in a blog post today that it will be breaking away from simply making its own GPUs and SoCs to now licensing its technology out to other manufacturers. The chip maker will kick things off by offering up its latest "Kepler" GPU architecture, which it says is the world's most advanced and efficient GPU and the reference design for its next-generation Tegra processors. Licensees will receive designs, collateral and support to integrate the Kepler GPU into their devices. Above and beyond hardware design, NVIDIA also plans to license its vast visual computing portfolio, which will open up to licensees the intellectual property necessary to make their own GPUs.
From its blog post, Executive Vice President David Shannon made a clear statement about NVIDIA's plans:
"But it’s not practical to build silicon or systems to address every part of the expanding market. Adopting a new business approach will allow us to address the universe of devices."
While this isn't the first time NVIDIA has licensed its designs and patents to other companies -- it highlights both Sony and Intel as previous licensees -- this will be the first major foray into mobile with the license strategy. It's no secret that NVIDIA has struggled to make a big dent in the smart phone market with its Tegra platform, and rather than push to have its own branded chips in every single phone it sees a revenue stream opportunity in licensing the technology its known for. It's likely that many OEMs could take NVIDIA up on its offer, saving their own R&D budget for other components instead.
NVIDIA says the most exciting part of this announcement is that more users around the world will have the opportunity to experience its world-class graphics technologies, no matter the device they buy. This will surely have the graphics nerds among us happy as well.