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Nvidia will license its Kepler GPU technology to tap into the 'exploding' smartphone market

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Nvidia (STOCK)
Nvidia (STOCK)

Nvidia has announced plans to license out its graphics technology to other companies in an effort to take advantage of the huge market for smartphones, tablets, and other devices as its core PC business continues to shrink. According to a blog post published by the company, Nvidia will start by licensing out the GPU core in its Kepler GPU, and it'll also license out its visual computing portfolio, which the company says will let licensees develop their own GPU technology while taking advantage of Nvidia's vast array of patents. Unsurprisingly, the impetus behind this change is the major shift in computing towards mobile — the company says that the "explosion of Android devices" presents it with a huge business opportunity even as its traditional PC market continues to shrink. If the company's plan works out, we could see Nvidia's Kepler GPU technology in a lot more devices down the line.

Nvidia's announcement echoes CEO Jen-Hsun Huang's comments made earlier this year — he wants his technology to "light every single pixel," so getting more Nvidia technology into mobile devices will be a key part of that plan. And while this new licensing plan represents a definite shift in strategy, it's not something altogether unfamiliar to Nvidia: the company licensed out earlier GPU technology to Sony to help build the graphics technology in the PlayStation 3. It's a strategy that sounds similar to what AMD is already doing by putting its processors in the next-generation gaming consoles from Sony and Microsoft as well as in standard off-the-shelf laptops. The company says these opportunities didn't exist until recently because there was only one type of computing device, the PC, but that's clearly no longer the case — so the company's doing what it can to make sure it'll be inside the currently-dominant smartphone and tablet form factors, as well as whatever may come next.