When I read an Inquirer piece about Microsoft launching its own branded phone with a Tegra chipset by Nvidia, it struck me that this would truly be putting lipstick on a pig. The Tegra chipset and the demos shown by Nvidia of it in action are awesome to behold, but running the rather dull Windows Mobile on the graphics-loving Tegra platform just seems like a waste of Tegra’s abilities. I tried to dig into the rumor, but Nvidia referred questions to Microsoft, and a Microsoft spokesman declined to comment on the rumor.
While I’m truly skeptical that Microsoft will produce an actual phone (hasn’t it learned from Zune?), Nvidia has optimized Tegra for the Windows Mobile platform. Tegra’s graphics processing ability could really amp up the user experience on a Windows phone, but it’s also strange to tie Tegra to an OS that seems so visually unstimulating. Although my guess is that Nvidia’s chip could improve the Windows Mobile experience to make it competitive with the iPhone, while Microsoft uses its marketing muscle to push Tegra-powered devices to the masses.
I cannot wait to see Tegra in actual devices, even if they do run Windows. Nvidia spokesman Andrew Humber told me last week I would have to wait until February to see a devices and the GSM World Mobile Congress mid-2009 to learn which handset makers are using the Tegra chipset, a letdown considering personal navigation devices containing Tegra were due to be out in time for the holidays. So yes, this is lipstick on a pig, but who doesn’t want to at least see what that looks like?