NVIDIA has always been referred to as the king of the Graphics Processing Unit or GPU. Gamers and users needing extensive graphics processing power are generally at home with the performance of NVIDIA’s GeForce graphics cards. Of course, NVIDIA is also one of the key players of the system on a chip (SOC) market, along with Intel, AMD and Qualcomm.
NVDIA Tegra 4
Its mobile processor, NVIDIA Tegra 2, has seen better days in Motorola smartphones and ASUS Eee Pad Transformer slates. In 2012, its first quad-core mobile processor, Tegra 3, debuted in the market, which powered the HTC One X, Google’s Nexus 7, Microsoft’s Surface RT tablets and the Sony Xperia S. The current year however has been uneventful for NVIDIA.
Its flagship quad-core, Cortex A15 chip, Tegra 4, had to settle for demand from mostly high-end Android devices such as slates from Toshiba, HP and ASUS. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro now powers the new Nexus 7. The price of the chip is assumed to be behind the low adoption rate of the Tegra 4 in budget to mid-range Android devices. Gadget manufacturers are probably speculating the release of the cheaper Tegra 4i as well. But NVIDIA still has a few tricks left on its sleeve. And these are its Android portables the handheld gaming console, NVIDIA SHIELD and the slate NVIDIA Tegra Note.
The NVIDIA SHIELD was released in July 2013 and has registered promising sales so far. Meanwhile, the recently announced NVIDIA Tegra Note is what’s getting a lot of attention these days.
NVIDIA Tegra Note
What’s so remarkable about the Tegra Note is not its Tegra 4 chip. A processor outfitted with a quad-core ARM Cortex 15 CPU and a 72-core GeForce GPU is powerful, that’s a given. The CPU also features a 5th core intended for battery saving. But it’s the entry-level price point of $199 and all the stuff you can do with the Tegra Note’s powerful chip and the Android Jelly Bean OS that is so remarkable with NVIDIA’s flagship tablet. All these are under the hood of an industrial design casing and a 7” 1280×800 IPS display. The rest of the Tegra Note’s specs are outlined below.
- Groundbreaking 5 megapixel rear camera that utilizes Tegra 4’s processing power
- NIVIDIA’s proprietary Pure Audio Technology that is designed to offer the highest frequency range in a tablet through its front facing speakers
- NVIDIA TegraZone, the gateway to Tegra-optimized games that offer specialized visual effects not available in other tablet brands
- NVIDIA DirectStylus technology that will operate with the bundled, multi-tip stylus;
- Ten hours of battery life on HD playback
From the looks of it, the NVIDIA Tegra Note is being positioned as the ultimate gaming tablet. I’m sure this tablet will get the nod of many gamers. There are however contentions if the tablet can indeed deliver on its promised performance. The Tegra Note is not equipped with a full HD display and only operates with 1GB of RAM. But with its affordable pricing and powerful mobile processor, a regular tablet user might just be enticed to get this over the $299 Nexus 7.
NVIDIA’s vertical integration strategy might just work to boost its earnings for the remainder of the year. The NVIDIA Tegra Note is set for release in global markets October. Until then, we can only speculate if its Android portables will fuel growth opportunities for the computer hardware giant.