Nvidia introduced a Tegra processor for what company CEO Jen-Hsun Huang called the latest computer category, tablet computers.
Despite the similarity in name between tablet computers and tablet PCs, the Nvidia powered devices are smaller, do not use a Windows platform and can deliver better performance then a netbook. They are intended for consumers who want a better computing experience than can now be delivered by a handheld device like an iPhone or BlackBerry, he said.
The new Tegra is based on a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU running up to 1GHz with eight onboard processors that Huang said delivers 10 times the performance of a normal smartphone while drawing only 500 milliwatts of power, or about the same as a cellphone. The most important feature, however, he said is that the processor does not require any special ventilation.
Devices running on the Tegra will have screen sizes ranging from 5 to 15 inches and be able to run applications ranging from Facebook to e-books to high-end first-shooter PC games.
Huang said more than 50 companies were developing tablet computers, including Asus, MSI Computing and Compal. In addition, Motorola and Verizon are working in conjunction with Innovative Converged Devices to create a model that will function on Verizon's 4G network. This will roll out in 25-30 U.S. markets in 2010. Pricing was not available.
The Tegra chip will also find its way into upcoming computer systems to be installed by Audi. These computers will deliver a range of content, including GPS, media and Web search.
At International CES Nvidia also demonstrated its 3D Vision-ready technology that is being included in its graphic processor units, which will work in conjunction with upcoming 3D-ready notebooks and desktop displays, Huang said.