ZTE to launch first smartphones with Nvidia Tegra 4 & i500 LTE modem

ZTE announced on Wednesday that it would be the first to sell a smartphone with an Nvidia Tegra 4 system-on-chip. This part was unveiled earlier this year at Mobile World Congress and has four Cortex-A15 cores plus a 72-core GPU.

The Chinese company said that the first models will be available in China in the first half of 2013, which infers that there will be more than one SKU based on Nvidia's SoC.

These handsets will also integrate Nvidia's i500 LTE modem, one that uses technology gained from the acquisition of soft-modem specialist Icera.

One of the few advantages of software-based modem is that they can be upgraded over the air to improve quality or provide with more features. They also occupy less silicon space and consume less power.

ZTE and Nvidia had produced some fairly decent Nvidia smartphones like the Grand X (available through Virgin Mobile for £150) and the Grand Era.

But it's worth noting that ZTE's latest super phone, the Grand S, uses a rival chipset from Qualcomm and still boosts LTE capabilities and ZTE's follow-up to the Orange San Francisco II, the Blade C, will use a MediaTek SoC.

Earlier this week, Nvidia announced the Tegra 4i which is essentially a souped up version of the Tegra 3 with some Tegra 4 DNA and an integrated i500 modem.