In May of last year NVIDIA was on a roll. Hot off the release of the first Tegra 2 based phones, NVIDIA announced the intent to acquire baseband manufacturer Icera for $367M. Four months later, NVIDIA announced that it would have a new addition to the Tegra family, codenamed Grey, in 2013 with an integrated Icera modem. The timing makes sense (albeit a bit aggressive) as it does take time to integrate new technology into an SoC, followed by all of the testing and validation that goes along with the integration. Between now and 2013 however there was always the chance that NVIDIA would deliver a discrete Icera based solution to a customer. Today we have the first customer that has done just that.

The ZTE Mimosa X is a Tegra 2 based Android phone running Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0.x). It features a 4.3-inch qHD (960 x 540) display, 5MP rear camera and 0.3MP front facing camera and 4GB of NAND (expandable up to 32GB). The big news with the Mimosa X is that it integrates an NVIDIA Icera 450 modem (ICE8065 baseband + ICE9225 transceiver). The 450 gives ZTE's Mimosa X support for up to 21Mbps HSPA+ (category 14). 

This is a huge milestone for NVIDIA as it marks the first apps processor + baseband design win for the company. A single datapoint isn't enough to declare NVIDIA's Icera acquisition a success but it's a start. Icera's software baseband is supposed to offer greater flexibility to device manufacturers, especially in bringing products to market with varying network requirements. Icera also promises smaller die sizes as a result of its software based architecture, which should translate into lower cost offerings (or more profit for NVIDIA). The Tegra 2 SoC guarantees that the Mimosa X will be focused squarely on the value/mainstream smartphone market. The Mimosa X will be shipping in Q2 of this year. 

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  • JasonInofuentes - Monday, February 20, 2012 - link

    This might not be the peak of Android performance right now, but if this thing makes it to the states at under $200 off-contract, this could easily be my next phone. Forego expensive plans, buy one of these, use a data-only SIM, a VoIP number to route my Google Voice calls through, and I'm in heaven.
  • LtGoonRush - Monday, February 20, 2012 - link

    My problem with the Tegra 2 is the lack of NEON (SIMD, like SSE on the PC) support. This wasn't a huge issue when ARM11 chips were the standard, but with all Cortex A8 and all other (AFAIK) Cortex A9s supporting NEON, application support is rising rapidly, putting the Tegra 2 at a significant disadvantage.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - link

    Icera almost certainly had a product scheduled for 2012. Canceling it would've been idiotic.

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