Nvidia shows tablet running quad-core Tegra chip

CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said Nvidia's Kal-El processor will be the first quad-core chip for tablets

Nvidia has shown a prototype tablet computer running a four-core version of its Tegra processor and said products based on the new chip will go on sale starting in September.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the Computex trade show in Taipei on Monday, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang also announced that Nvidia will have shipped 10 million of its existing dual-core Tegra 2 processors by the end of June.

Best known for its graphics chips, Nvidia has emerged as a force in the market for ARM-based processors used in smartphones and tablets, where it competes with more established mobile chip vendors such as Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.

The dual-core Tegra 2 is used in the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the LG Optimus and the Acer Transformer, which has a snap-on keyboard for people who type too much to use only a touch screen.

Huang showed the quad-core chip, code-named Kal-El, running a prototype tablet built by Nvidia to demonstrate its capabilities. Tablets with Kal-El will go on sale in September, followed by smartphones later in the year, Huang said.

He didn't say which vendors would make the products but it seems likely they will come from existing Nvidia partners, who include Motorola, Dell, Sony and Asustek.

Huang said Kal-El will provide better graphics for gamers and for non-gamers, and run their existing applications with greater energy-efficiency, which should mean longer battery life.

"Kal El will do everything the Tegra 2 can do but at lower power," according to Huang.

Nvidia showed the chip running a game from MadFinger in which a ball illuminated from the inside rolls around a dark arena. Shadows cast by the ball were rendered in real time and at more than 30 frames per second, Huang said.

With all four cores in use, the tablet can run the game for four to six hours on a single charge, according to Huang.

Kal-El is a code-name and it's unclear if the final product will be called the Tegra 3. That could be tricky for Nvidia from a marketing perspective as it wants to emphasize that the chip has four cores.

Asked if Kal-El tablets will be more expensive than today's Tegra 2 tablets, Michael Rayfield, general manager of Nvidia's mobile business unit, said they will be offered at a "huge" range of prices.

Most Tegra-based tablets today run Google's Android operating system, but Nvidia is among the vendors working with Microsoft to bring the next version of Windows to Arm-based processors.

Kal-El will be the first four-core tablet chip on the market, according to Huang. His competitors aren't standing still, however. Qualcomm and Texas Instruments both have press conferences planned this week where they're expected to discuss new products.

Kal-El was announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. At the same show, Qualcomm announced an upcoming quad-core Snapdragon chip that it said will consume 65 percent less power than current ARM-based CPU cores. It hasn't said yet when that chip will go on sale.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags texas instrumentshardware systemsqualcommnvidiaComponentstablet PCslaptopsprocessorsacercomputex

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?