At CES, Nvidia unveiled its next-generation Tegra processor, which is aimed at the tablet PC and low-cost notebook space, the latter of which is dominated by Intel's Atom chip. Built on Arm's dual-core Cortex-A9 design, the new Tegra is four times faster than its predecessor and offers such tablet-important features as long battery life, high resolution and support for multi-ple screen sizes.
Nvidia will increase its competition with Intel with the release of
its next-generation Tegra SoC (system-on-a-chip) offering, which the
company is launching at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Nvidia officials announced the new Tegra offering Jan. 7 at the Las
Vegas event, saying that the processor offers four times the
performance of the previous Tegra product and 10 times the speed of
chips currently used in smartphones.
The company is aiming the newest Tegra offering at such devices as low-cost notebooks and-in particular-tablet PCs.
Tablet PCs have been a big point of discussion at CES. A host of vendors-including Hewlett-Packard
, Lenovo and Freescale
Semiconductors-has talked about plans for the devices, and industry observers also expect Apple to come out with a tablet
announcement later this month.
Nvidia officials say the characteristics of Tegra-including long
battery life, 3D touchscreen user interfaces, resolution that is four
to eight times better than a smartphone and screens ranging in size
from five to 15 inches-play into this trend. Nvidia demonstrated Tegra
on several new tablet PCs during CES.
"Consumers can now get the tablet experience they've always dreamed
of and they can leave the power cord at home," Michael Rayfield,
general manager of Nvidia's mobile business, said in a statement.
"We're driving tomorrow's tablets today."
Still, some analysts, while applauding the benefits of Tegra, say that Nvidia shouldn't focus solely on tablets.
"Nvidia ... believes that tablets are going to be a big thing in 2010
enabled with its new Tegra 40nm applications processor," Hans
Mosesmann, an analyst with Raymond James Equity Research, said in a
research note Jan. 8. "The demos we saw with the new Tegra ... were quite
impressive, with capabilities in line with low to mainstream PCs. The
rub for Nvidia is that the company seemed to de-emphasize
-smartphones,' where the real volume potential is for Tegra."
The Tegra is based on dual-core Arm's Cortex-A9 CPU design running
up to 1GHz, and comes with eight independent cores in all, including a
GeForce graphics cores. Other cores can handle Web browsing, 3D gaming
and encoding and decoding high-definition video, according to Nvidia.
Those cores also can be used together or independently to
continually optimize power consumption, which leads to the long battery
life. Nvidia said Tegra can run 16 hours of HD video or 140 hours of
music on a single charge.
While the older Tegra has been used mostly in smaller mobile
Internet Devices and the latest version is aimed at tablet PCs, Nvidia
said the newest generation also can run on larger devices like low-end
laptops, including netbooks, where Intel's Atom processor dominates.
The new Tegra is in production now and application developers can get the Tegra Developer Kit here