Will Nvidia follow AMD by offering ray tracing on mobile?

  • Nvidia has ruled out bringing ray tracing to mobile devices for now.
  • The company says its Geforce Now streaming service is a better solution for now.
  • Arm has however confirmed that it’s working on ray tracing tech.

AMD delivered a big nugget of news earlier this week when it revealed that the next Samsung Exynos chipset (featuring an AMD GPU) will support ray tracing technology. It’s a big deal because full-blown ray tracing is largely limited to computers right now, promising far more realistic lighting effects and reflections.

Now, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang has told journalists (h/t: ZDNet) that the GPU kingpin won’t be following AMD’s lead by bringing ray tracing to mobile just yet.

“Ray tracing games are quite large, to be honest. The data set is quite large, and there’ll be a time for it,” Huang was quoted as saying. “When the time is right we might consider it.”

Instead, the company reckons that its Geforce Now streaming service is a better way to get ray tracing on mobile right now.

“That’s how we would like to reach Android devices, Chrome devices, iOS devices, macOS devices, Linux devices, all kinds of devices, whether it’s on TV, or mobile device, or PC,” the CEO reportedly said.

A stopgap before native ray tracing?

Geforce Now is a double-edged sword though. The upside is that it streams games at high quality to a variety of devices, using Nvidia’s servers to power the experience rather than relying on a beefy target device. But the downside is that you need a fast internet connection and the service is only available in a handful of markets. In fact, Asia, Latin America, most of the Middle East, and most of Africa can’t get in on the action.

Still, Nvidia clearly seems to be open to the possibility of native ray tracing on mobile devices down the line. The company hasn’t released a brand-new mobile chip in a long time, but its deal to buy Arm does leave the door open for its GPU smarts to come to smartphones and more mobile gadgets.

Speaking of Arm, the UK chip designer reiterated to Android Authority that it was indeed working on ray tracing tech.

“Ray tracing is part of our active research work, so it’s being worked on in our dev labs,” product marketing director Andy Craigen told us during a briefing for the latest Mali GPUs. The company wasn’t able to confirm a launch window though.

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