Four months ago NVIDIA announced the acquisition of Icera, a baseband solution provider. Icera's technology didn't make it into any smartphones but it did have some success in the USB modem market. The obvious impteus for the acquisition was to eventually integrate Icera basebands into NVIDIA Tegra SoCs, providing a "single chip" solution for those customers who want it. Currently Qualcomm is the only major SoC player to offer an application processor with integrated baseband with its Snapdragon SoC.

After the acquisition was announced NVIDIA wouldn't commit to any timeframe for integrating Icera's technology, even going as far as to say that many customers weren't demanding that level of integration at this point. Yesterday NVIDIA's CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang confirmed that we'd see a mainstream Tegra offering with an integrated "3G/4G" baseband from Icera in 2012 alongside its Wayne SoC. This integrated SoC is codenamed Grey. Xbit Labs was the first to report on the story and we just confirmed it with NVIDIA.

Grey will coexist with Wayne. Jen-Hsun referred to Grey as being able to address the "majority of the smartphone market" indicating that it may be a smaller design than Wayne. NVIDIA has yet to confirm the architecture behind Wayne (or Grey) at this point, but we can only assume that by 2012 it'll be time for NVIDIA to shift to Cortex A15 at 28nm. 

Source: Xbit Labs

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  • DanNeely - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    Unless there's more to Huang's quote to provide context it could also mean that it will cover most, but not all, frequency/protocols (eg GSM, CDMA, and LTE but not Wimax); or that nVidia expects most tablets to remain wifi only, in which case the basebandless wayne variant would be the appropriate SoC for them, with Grey being used almost exclusively in phones.
  • tviceman - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    This is my best guess...
  • jjj - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    Grey was first mentioned 3 days ago and again yesterday.
  • Saltticus - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    I haven't read any other articles about the upcoming Tegra roadmap so this is new to me. I like how their codenames are all after superheroes! Jean GREY (Phoenix), Kal-el (Superman), Wayne (Batman), Logan (Wolverine), Stark (Iron Man).
  • Red Storm - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    Someone educate me, which hero is Tegra named after? XD
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    Tegra is the shipping name, not the code name.
  • jmcb - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    Probably somebody from Thundercats..or He

    Well was trying to be funny but look what a quick Google search found:
  • LauRoman - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    I think Grey is named after Jean Grey, if you know your X-men or in this case woman.
  • salimbest83 - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    thats make senses
  • Kamen75 - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    That is one seriously optimistic roadmap, optimistic and wrong. Nvidia is now stating Kal-El as having 2x the power of Tegra 2. Kal-El is just 4 A9 cores with a gpu upgrade. Arm anything will never (or at least for a decade or two) have a processing power multiplier of 30x over C2D and that's what this "roadmap" is trying to say. They put the "Stark" soc at 90x more powerful than Tegra 2. I have one word for that...RIDICULOUS.

    I have a prediction that I'm pretty damn sure will come true. Passively cooled Arm processors will hit the "thermal wall" before 2014 and max out at 2ghz or less. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the A15 generation of soc's in 2012 and 2013 is the last architecture to have truly large jumps in processing power over previous gen soc's. After A15 you are going to have the same problem that Intel and AMD have been facing for many years now. The thermal wall will make developing more powerful soc's very expensive and dependent on additional cores to keep up with Moore's law and that will make programing for performance for these future soc's much more difficult and costly.

    A single core of a Core i7-2600k (Sandy Bridge) -vs- a single core of a Core2Duo E6850 (Conroe) with both cores running at 3ghz only shows a 10%-30% power advantage for the much newer Core i7.

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