Nintendo crowns Nvidia chipset for next-gen DS handheld

Tegra is Nvidia's code name for its mobile chipset which packs traditionally discrete computer functionality into a single, integrated processor

Nintendo next-gen DS video games handheld may sport an Nvidia Tegra chip, in today's second 'confidentially sourced' bit of speculative news. (See 'Next Microsoft Xbox Console to Use AMD GPU?' for the first.) According to Bright Side of News, Nintendo plans to implement Nvidia's computer-on-a-chip technology to power its DS-family successor, possibly lending rationale to allegations that Nvidia co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang recently said 50 percent of Nvidia revenue would eventually come from the Tegra family.

Tegra is Nvidia's code name for its mobile chipset which packs traditionally discrete computer functionality into a single, integrated processor.

The existing DS and DSi use dual ARM processors running at different clock speeds and splitting up tasks like number crunching, video and audio playback, and wireless network processing. A Tegra-based DS would do away with all that and presumably shrink the handheld's physical footprint.

Other devices using the Tegra chip include Microsoft's Zune HD media player and Samsung's BeatPlayer M1. Nvidia's Tegra platform page also references Window Mobile, CE, and Android-based smartphones, as well as portable navigation devices and media players.

The Nintendo DS family--the DS, DS Lite, and dual-camera DSi--has sold in excess of 100 million units worldwide to date. After Sony's decade-old PlayStation 2 (the DS launched in Japan and North American in late 2004) and the older still original Game Boy, it's the bestselling dedicated game device in history.

BSN speculates confusingly that "given the fact that Nintendo DS hardware is based upon 16-bit and 32-bit ARM cores, it looks like Next-Gen DS could be backwards compatible with the DS application library." Anyone else having trouble parsing that statement? It sounds like they're reasoning that because A is equal A, then B. The next claim's even weirder--that DS apps could be run from a single ARM core, "yet alone the next-gen Cortex-A9-based Tegra." The Cortex A9 isn't a Tegra-based chip, it's the ARM-based successor to the Cortex A8.

Color me twice-bewildered.

Follow me on Twitter @game_on

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Matt Peckham

PC World (US online)
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