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Apple chooses Nvidia for iPhone processor

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

PortalPlayer Inc., the media processor company that famously lost a key socket in the next-generation iPod nano earlier this year, has secured an applications processor design win in the forthcoming iPhone from Apple Computer Inc., according to a Wall Street research analyst.

Consistent with previous speculation, Nvidia Corp.—which is poised to acquire PortalPlayer in a $357 million deal announced earlier this month—has seen its graphics processor designed into next-generation video iPods due out next year, according to Chris Caso, an analyst with Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. Inc. (FBR).

In a research note published Tuesday (Nov. 21), Caso wrote that FBR believes that Nvidia's acquisition of PortalPlayer "gives it an inside track at providing an integrated applications / video processor in a future video iPod for 2008." FBR expects combined Nvidia-PortalPlayer music player revenue of $280 million in 2007, following the close of the acquisition, "with the potential for further revenue from an enhanced Apple relationship in the future," according to the note.

FBR believes that Nvidia (Santa Clara, Calif.) plans to develop an integrated processor containing the applications processor, audio decoder and video decoder, with the goal of having it designed into a next-generation iPod for 2008, according to the note. Saying that the design win is not a certainty, FBR said it believes Apple has agreed to work with Nvidia on the concept and that it was a factor in Nvidia's decision to acquire PortalPlayer (San Jose, Calif.).

Apple has yet to confirm speculation, supported by recent patent applications, that the company is developing a mobile phone product. FBR expects the iPhone to be announced late in the first quarter of 2007, according to the Tuesday research note.

Consistent with earlier reports, FBR said checks confirm that PortalPlayer's applications processor would be designed out of the next-generation video iPod, replaced by a part from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.

The projected $280 million in combined Nvidia-PortalPlayer music player includes $150 million from the iPhone, $100 million from the new video iPod, and $30 million from non-Apple MP3 players, FBR said.

Separately Tuesday, reports said an analyst from American Technology Research issued a research note saying that Apple is currently developing a second mobile phone product.

By: DocMemory
Copyright © 2006 CST, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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