At numerous points during NVIDIA’s Q4 2014 Webcast, recorded on February 12, 2014, Jen-Hsun Huan, President and CEO emphasized the significance, for the company, of the automotive markets for graphics displays and High Performance Computing (HPC) solutions. He also spoke about the importance of the Android operating system for the near term future growth of the business.
But neither the broader automotive market, nor Audi as one automotive brand, is a new one for NVIDIA. Back on January 7, 2010, in a press release titled “NVIDIA and Audi Marry Silicon Valley Technology with German Engineering” NVIDIA informed markets about its relationship with Audi. The release also mentioned the company’s relationships with several other automobile manufacturers under the Volkswagen AG brand.
So what’s really new and promising about the automotive market for NVIDIA, besides an even bigger business for the company with the Tesla automobile manufacturer? What’s new, as I see it, is the higher valuation consumers are placing on NVIDIA graphic displays. Because consumers identify PC comparable graphics displays in cars as a set of features worth a higher price, automobile manufacturers like Audi and Tesla can differentiate their more costly products from the lower end of their lines based purely cabin navigation and entertainment systems features. I think this heightened consumer appetite for methods of replicating the PC computing online experience while they are in motion in vehicles will provide important momentum (once missing) to push even more intelligence into cars, which is where NVIDIA’s advanced core GPU technology and HPC expertise will likely be in demand. So when analysts speak of the “next consumer frontier” for computing, their argument becomes more convincing, at least if NVIDIA’s success can be taken as a true market indicator of things to come.
Huan also made a very big claim about the Android operating system, noting its strategic importance as the computing OS with the widest international reach, and, what he characterized (though I disagree with this one) as a truly open system where an ISV/IFV like NVIDIA can really add value.
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