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

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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.