Nvidia, makers of fine PC video cards, have found a new future in mobile processing.
Nvidia used their CES keynote to push the Tegra 3 quad-core processor and Ice Cream Sandwich operating system as the future of tablets and smartphones.
In Nvidia’s keynote recap on their blog, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, talked up Ice Cream Sandwich as a unifying force for tablets and smartphones using Android software.
“Ice Cream Sandwich unites, unifies and turns all the Android devices into a single platform, with one enormous installed base,” Huang said.
The company took time out to boast about their new Tegra 3 processor and what it can do. They used popular iPad app Snapseed as a new app for Android devices that can only run on Tegra 3 equipped devices.
More impressive is the ability for a Tegra 3 tablet to stream sophisticated games from a GeForce GTX-based gaming PC. The company took this opportunity to play Skyrim and Battlefield 3 on the tablet using a gamepad.
Nvidia made it a point to say that tablets are their new bread and butter. This led to the announcement of the ASUS ME370T, a 7-inch tablet running Ice Cream Sandwich and their Tegra 3 processor. The tablet will sell for $249.
The Tegra 3 processor has plenty of innovations for tablets besides being five times more powerful than its predecessor. The CPU features what they call a “ninja” core that allows the tablet to switch between the four main CPUs and a fifth lower-power “companion” CPU for less demanding tasks and standby mode.
It also uses a software called PRISM that reduces backlight power consumption by 40 percent by modulating the backlight per pixel, frame and scene, all in real time. It also features DirectTouch which offloads the touch panel’s processing to one core which enables six times faster touch processing, lower costs and lower power consumption.
With these new technologies, Nvidia is promising that tablets running on Tegra 3 will get 12 hours of battery life.
Lastly, Microsoft pledged support for Tegra 3 by saying that their new Windows 8 mobile platform will have to use Tegra 3 due to the operating system’s multi-threading nature.
Nvidia’s keynote was initially disappointing because there was no information about their next generation of GeForce GTX video cards, but tablets are still a growing market that requies this kind of exposure. There will be plenty of time for graphics cards later. Now it’s time for Nvidia to innovate in the mobile arena just like they have in desktop graphics.