nVidia aims to power “tablet revolution” with next-gen Tegra processor


This year's CES featured an explosion of new tablet/slate devices and e-readers, with many analysts already calling it "the year of the tablet." With the launch of the previously rumored next-generation Tegra processor, the Tegra 250, nVidia intends for its latest product to "power the tablet revolution." The new chipset has been designed specifically for the mobile web and the high resolution, media-rich nature of tablet devices. Some key capabilities include an uncompromised, lightning fast internet experience, playback of 1080p HD video (including streaming video), hardware acceleration of Adobe Flash using the upcoming Flash Player 10.1, immersive Open GL ES 3D graphics, and long battery life numbering days.

The released details of the chipset show it is among the first to include a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU at speeds of up to 1GHz. In total the chipset will include 8 independent processors handling various specialized tasks such as HD video encoding/decoding, web browsing, and 3D graphics. The design is highly scalable meaning the processors can be used together or independently depending on performance requirements and energy considerations. nVidia has stated that a 5" tablet powered by the Tegra 250 can achieve 140 hours of music playback and 16 hours of HD video playback!

I have been looking forward to what nVidia had in store for us at CES and I am not disappointed. Previously, I was a bit skeptical questioning what a next-gen Tegra would bring to the table, since the original Tegra was already very capable and easily handled HD video playback. But it looks like the Tegra 250 should be a much more versatile hardware solution with a lot more power while not compromising battery life.

This should expand the range of functions we can expect from MIDs and the complexity of applications able to run on them using the dual-core Cortex A9 CPU. Another notable highlight is full hardware acceleration of Adobe Flash, previously a major barrier to the full internet experience on mobile devices. So not only will you be able to browse Flash-enabled sites, but you can also watch HD YouTube videos and play 3D Flash games. With the Tegra 250 now in production, a large selection of new MID devices, mostly tablets, were shown at CES and I can't wait for them to hit shelves. Who else is excited by this announcement and its implications?

[Press release]
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Jeremy To

Jeremy is a former editor at Pocketables.

Avatar of Jeremy To

6 thoughts on “nVidia aims to power “tablet revolution” with next-gen Tegra processor

  • Avatar of Phen0m

    They’re announcing the next-gen of Tegra, when 99% of us haven’t reaped the benefits of a first gen. Nvidia seems to get a rise out of blowing smoke up Intel’s wazoo, perhaps we will see a Tegra device, and perhaps we wont.
    The technology is there, but if Nvidia’s R&D is the only ones who get use out of it, what is the point?

  • Avatar of pratfall

    I think manufacturers are way over-estimating the market for tablets/MIDs. Dumbass fanbois have been clamoring for an Apple Tablet or Crunchpad for years but never talk about what such a beast would be used for, and I think their appeal is extremely limited.

    For dedicating a processor to web browsing- is that your note or theirs? That seems a weird thing to dedicate a processor to. What is it doing, rendering CSS? I could see an SSL or TCPIP accelerator, but what sort of “web browsing” tasks would be accelerated?

  • Avatar of Joseph G. Mitzen

    The Tegra is in the Zune. Don’t complain about NVidia if they’re producing great technology and other people aren’t adopting it. Creative has a new version of the Zii chip out with similar specs and the standard Zii chip has so far been used in zero devices. Nothing’s keeping you from getting a developer board and a compiler and rolling your own if you want a Tegra device. That’s what many people did with the Zii.

  • Avatar of Peter

    Nice article, Jeremy. I was impressed with the Tegra 2 ARM CortexA9,dual core, SoC, when seeing a Nvidia Tablet device running Engines3 Gears of War. This Tegra 2 really is fast, showing swift graphics capabilities in conjunction with dual cores running superscalar computing at 1GHz, plus. Amazing stuff…Intel is promoting its Moorestown 40nm SoC,.. and at the CES demoed the LG GW990 superphone, multi-tasking, running Linux Moblin, showing an Avatar clip in one landscape panel, with 3 panel Apps running, and though, its only a prototype, it was impressive. The Apple iSlate will have to be a near-perfected device, when it debuts, with all the aura, fanfare, and speculations surrounding its development. But I think Jobs, will probably not disappoint the Apple fans. I predict, the iSlate, will also utilize an ARM CortexA9, with dual cores running at 1GHz. This will probably be made by its subsidiary, PA Semi. The GPU will have to be an advanced type, like Nvidia GeForce, ATI Radeon, or will be, most probably, the new Power VR SGX 545 by Imagination. The next few months will be exciting, and I hope public benchmarks on these devices will become available, to put everything into proper perspective, including battery life. Just some thoughts.

  • Looks interesting..

    I’ve yet to replace my tapwave zodiac!
    its battery life isn’t great but it still does everything i need (including watching films on sd cards :)


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