Tag Archive | "nvidia"

Nvidia to Improve Android Touch Responsiveness with DirectTouch

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There are several reasons why iOS devices have always managed to beat Android devices in the touch-responsiveness department. For one, the way that the on-screen elements are rendered is different between the two operating systems. Then there’s the fact that each Android device may use different touch-controllers from one device to the next. Nvidia is taking a stab at upping the touch-responsiveness of Tegra 3-equipped devices by offloading some of the touch input responsibilities directly onto Tegra 3. They call this ‘DirectTouch’.

Nvidia demonstrates that the Xoom with Nvidia Tegra 2 can handle around 110 touch samples/second with one finger. As each finger is added, the number of samples/second drops. With Tegra 3 and DirectTouch, samples/second nearly double to around 200 for one finger. As more fingers are added, it seems that DirectTouch intelligently scales to keep the samples/second around 200, even with 10 individual inputs!

What an increased number of samples/second really means is more accuracy. Increasing the samples/second by 2x as we see here means that the hardware and software are able to record where the input is happening twice as often. At slow speeds, such as scrolling a webpage, this isn’t all that important. However, as the speed of the input increases, the samples/second become more important to maintain accuracy, which is why Nvidia says that this will be particularly useful for gaming.

LG Announces Optimus 4X HD With Quad-core Tegra 3

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LG has announced, and will be showing off at MWC (starting tomorrow), the Optimus 4X HD. This is LG’s first quad-core phone and uses the Nvidia Tegra 3 platform. It’s likely that we’ll see a number of Tegra 3 smartphones announced and shown at MWC this year. Tegra 3 has actually been on the market for a few months in the form of the Asus Transformer Prime, but we’ve yet to see it available in phone-form.

I’m happy to report that the Optimus 4X HD comes pre-installed with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich which will help really make use of the 1.5GHz quad-core CPU which is equipped with 1GB of RAM. There is 16GB of in-built memory, and the screen is a monster 4.7″ 1280x720p IPS display which, if anything like the LG Spectrum’s screen, is sure to please in terms of colors and sharpness. There’s an 8MP camera on the back and a 1.3MP camera in the front. Additionally, the phone is equipped with 4G LTE; LG will have to be really careful with this phone to ensure that it has reasonable battery life. The battery capacity is 2150mAh.

Chippy is on the show floor at MWC starting tomorrow, stay tuned for more!

 

Transformer Prime Shows Us What Tegra 3′s 12-core GPU Can Do [video]

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Tegra 3 is the world’s first quad-core mobile platform, Nvidia assures us, and along with those 4 CPU cores come the Tegra 3 GPU which has 12 additional cores of its own. Nvidia is happy to show off the graphical capabilities of the Tegra 3 GPU, which they claim to be up to 3x faster than the Tegra 2 GPU. A few months back (when Tegra 3 was still being called Kal-El) Nvidia demoed a game called Glowball on pre-production hardware. Now, Nvidia is showing off a new level of the game, running on a production version of the Transformer Prime:

If you were already anticipating the Transformer Prime, I can only imagine you are now that much more excited; you’d be hard pressed to call that demo anything but impressive. I’ll be curious to see some benchmarks, but I’d say Tegra 3′s graphical capabilities are right up there with Apple’s A5 CPU/GPU found in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2.

I think it’s great to see that competition has created extremely high performance mobile computing platforms, but when it comes to gaming on tablets, casual play is still where the segment thrives. As soon as you push touchscreen gaming beyond casual, you absolutely need a controller to achieve a reasonable experience. Even though we should be able to connect Bluetooth peripherals (or even USB), it seems that there is not yet a defacto controller to suit the needs of beyond-casual gaming on mobile devices.

What say you? Do you find beyond-casual gaming on tablets impractical with only a touchscreen to control them?

Transformer Prime with Tegra 3 Quad-core CPU Now Official

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The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime (aka Transformer 2) leaked last month but now it’s all been made official. Tegra 3 has been confirmed, and although the Transformer Prime will ship with Android 3.2, they are confirming that it can be upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Transformer without the signature attachable keyboard, and Asus is claiming that the Transformer Prime will get a whopping 18 hours of battery life from a full charge using both the tablet and the dock.

With the Tegra 3 quad-core processor (once codenamed Kal-El), Nvidia says that you can see improvements in speed up to 3x over Tegra 2, with up to 61% less power consumption. The lower power consumption is thanks to a fifth “companion cube” “companion core” that is designed to do the easy lifting, completely shutting down the quad-core CPU when it isn’t needed. Once you start doing tasks that require significant power, everything is shifted from the companion core to the quad-cores and the companion core is shut down. Nvidia calls this process Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing or vSMP.

The GPU included in Tegra 3 utilizes 12 processing cores and can automatically convert OpenGL applications and games into stereo 3D, allowing you to hook up your tablet to a 3D HDTV or 3D head mounted display (like Sony’s upcoming HMZ-T1).

The Transformer Prime itself is an impressive 8.3mm thick, which will make it the thinnest 10″ tablet available on the market (that is, until Toshiba releases their 7.7 mm thick AT200). It is also one of the lightest 10″ tablets at 586 grams, though still behind the Galaxy Tab 10.1. This is all without the keyboard of course.

The Transformer Prime screen retains the 1280 x 800 resolution and IPS technology used on the original Transformer. 1GB of RAM accompanies the Tegra 3 processor. Unfortunately, Asus has not moved the USB port onto the tablet itself, as per Damian’s hopes; you’ll still need transform into the keyboard mode to access the USB port. Unfortunately they’ve actually reduced the count from two USB ports to one, which seems like a step backward considering the good USB peripheral support of Android Honeycomb and beyond. The Transformer Prime alone has micro-HDMI, 3.5mm headphone/mic input, a built in mic, micro-SD card reader, and stereo speakers.

The Transformer Prime is Priced at $499 for a 32GB model or $599 for a 64GB model. There are two colors available: Amethyst Grey and Champagne Gold. The keyboard dock, which includes one USB port and a full-sized SD card reader and battery (and will add 537 grams to the Transformer Prime), is optional and will run you an additional $149.

Nvidia Kal-El Video Demo Gives Glimpses of Next-gen Tablet Performance and What 4 CPU Cores and 12 GPU Cores Can Do

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nvidia kal-elNvidia’s Tegra and Tegra 2 hardware has been quite popular over the last year, bringing powerful CPU and GPU performance to tablets and smartphones in a standardized package. Today, Nvidia is showing off the next version of Tegra, codenamed Kal-El, which will power tomorrow’s tablets and smartphones.

Kal-El is the next iteration of Nvidia’s mobile CPU/GPU series and features the world’s first mobile quad-core CPU, and a whopping dodeca-core GPU (that’s 12, folks!). Nvidia is expecting five times the performance of Tegra 2 out of Kal-El!

They say that seeing is believing:

This impressive video demo shows some intense dynamic lighting and real-time physics. Both lighting and animations are traditionally pre-rendered onto scenes in mobile games and cannot be interacted with in real-time. Nvidia says that Kal-El’s four CPU cores and twelve GPU cores make dynamic lighting and real-time physics animations practical for the first time on mobile devices.

In the demo you’ll watch as the demonstrator disables two of the four CPU cores to simulate how the game would run on a dual-core CPU. The results aren’t very pretty as the cores max-out and the framerate drops to at least half of what it was. Returning to four cores shows each core running around 70% and the game playing very smoothly. What’s great is that Nvidia expects the production CPU to be 25-30% faster than the hardware being used for this demonstration!

The game will be available on the Android Marketplace (likely through the Tegra Zone application) once it’s complete.

Nvidia has been sending out Kal-El samples to production customers since February and expect Kal-El devices to begin production this August.

Acer Iconia Pad A500 Unboxing

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The Acer Iconia Tab A500, a 10” Honeycomb tablet arrived today and, as per the ‘law’ I unboxed it straight away for you.

Interestingly, it crashed during the first tests! I was messing with an external keyboard at the time but that wasn’t expected. I also found out that there’s only one language installed and that the media player can’t handle WMV or DivX files that I had on a USB stick. Not a good start.

060520111486The build quality is impressive though and as you can see in this image, I did manage to get the Samsung Q1 keyboard working with it. The mouse didn’t work.

The screen has good viewing angles and the speakers are reasonable too. Set-up was, as always with Android, a breeze and working down in my studio I was able to see hotspots that I don’t usually see so the Wifi seems strong.

I’ll leave it there for the time being as we’ve got a live session running with the Acer Iconia Tab A500 this evening where we’ll find out everything there is to know. We’ll record some of the session and get it written up for you in a first-impressions post at the weekend.

Details for the live session are here.

Full Specifications, Links, Images, Reviews for the A500 are here.

Deal Alert: ViewSonic G-tablet — 10.1″ Nvidia Tegra 2 Dual-Core 1GHz CPU, Android 2.2 for $279

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viewsonic g-tabletSo you know of Woot.com right? That great deal-a-day site that occasionally has some nice gadget deals? Well, a few weeks back Woot was offering up the ViewSonic G-Tablet on their site, but it seems as though they’ve got more to dish out.

Woot is now offering the same product on their secret site reserved for leftover stock, Moofi.com. You can only access this deal through this URL:

http://moofi.woot.com/moofi/deliciouswaffles

Once you’re there, you can login and order with your regular Woot account. Unlike Woot’s traditional model, this deal should remain indefinitely, rather than disappearing after a day. Here’s what we wrote about the ViewSonic G-tablet when Woot was offering the tablet last time:

Today’s Woot is actually quite tantalizing. You’ll be getting a brand new, impressively speced ViewSonic G-tablet for a mere $279. This thing has the powerful Nvidia Tegra 2 chipset with a dual-core 1GHz CPU packed inside, not to mention 512MB of RAM. It’s running Android 2.2 as well.

The only show stopper? No official Android market access. They’ve pre-loaded a third party store called the G-market which actually links you up to apps that Handango offers. You won’t find official versions of Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, etc. on this device, but if you did some looking around, you may find a way to enable such functionality.

There’s also a custom interface layered over the standard Android which is reportedly somewhat sluggish. But, according to a release on ViewSonic’s site, a recent update allows the user to switch between the customer interface and the default one (hurray for choice!).

Important Specs:

  • Android 2.2 (no Android Market access)
  • 10.1” capacitive touchscreen @ 1024×600
  • Dual-core Cortex A9 Nvidia Tegra CPU @ 1GHz
  • 512MB of DDR2 RAM
  • 16GB internal memory
  • 1080p hardware decoding: H.264/H.263/ VC-1/MPEG-2/4/WMV9/DiVX
  • Front-facing 1.3MP camera
  • MicroSD slot, full-sized USB 2.0 slot, MicroUSB slot (for charging)
  • 3.5mm headphone jack

LaptopMag has a solid review on the ViewSonic G-tablet if you are looking to do some pre-purchase research.

LG Optimus Pad at MWC.

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Tegra and Honeycomb seem to be everywhere at MWC. We spotted the Acer Iconia 100 yesterday but that seems to be the only 7″-er. Everything else is 10″. At this early stage in the Honeycomb lifeline there isn’t a lot of time for manufacturers to make huge differentiation in the software layers so LG have chosen to go the hardware route on their tablet and have added 3D cameras. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to test them.

With Honeycomb being so new its difficult to come to any conclusions but I saw an amazingly sharp and high-contrast screen that was let down by a user interface that should be a lot, lot smoother.

On the back you have a removable panel which seems to be only for the Sim card. I think I must have missed something there but I’m sure there’s no removable battery. Build quality overall seems very good and the gaming experience was an obvious step up from what I’ve seen on other devices. If developers jump on the bandwagon and optimise for Tegra, it will a real advantage in the gaming space.

With that 3D feature in the device I’m certainly not expecting it to be cheap and I wonder, is anyone really crying out for 3D camera like this?

Nvidia CEO Talks Up ARM and the Future of Mobile Devices

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5366326949_76cdde59ff_b Jen-Hsun Huang, the CEO of Nvidia has recently announced a major Tegra 2 win (Honeycomb) and a new project “extending the performance range of the ARM instruction-set architecture, enabling the ARM architecture to cover a larger portion of the computing space” so it’s no surprise that the CEO is positive when he talks about ARM.

I had the chance to watch him being interviewed by All Things D mobile correspondent Ina Fried last week at CES and with Galaxy Tab in hand I was put to the test in noting quote after quote of amazing pro-ARM comments from Jen-Hsun.  How about some of these gems:

“2011 is likely to go down like 1995. We will realise that the personal computing industry was redefined”. Jen-Hsun is referring to Windows 95, the operating system that changed the way consumers interacted with personal computers.

“The most important architecture going forward is likely to be ARM.”

“Whatever expectation you have…are going to be fully met by mobile computing devices within the next 3 to 4 years.”

“3D on phone is a foregone conclusion. This piece of glass is is likely the most accommodating piece of glass for 3D”

Here’s a quick video I did of Jen-Hsun demonstrating the LG Optimus 2X. There’s a fuller video over at All Things D

In addition to Tegra 2, 3D and Honeycomb announcements, Nvidia have also taken a Cortex A15 license and have announced project Denver which appears to be looking to combine future ARM architecture (possibly Cortex A15, possibly a new license for ARMv7 or even ARMv8!) and running parallel with the Windows on ARM project. If Nvidia are chosen as the reference design for that, they are sitting pretty! An Nvidia blog post gives more info about Denver.

However, Nvidia talks about ARM like it’s the only low-power choice but we know that Intel are moving into this space too. In fact, as processing power requirements reach into the same 1W envelope, it’s the screens, radios, batteries and software need to be sorted out. An wild, uncontrolled third party app can negate a lot of potential hardware efficiencies.  Also, if Windows 8 is supporting ARM, I expected it to also be supporting the new power features of the Intel platforms that bring it right alongside ARM. Don’t forget that Android is running on Intel too!

Nvidia appear to have an excellent leader, strategist and spokesperson in Jen-Hsun and it’s unlike any other company playing in this mobile game. The brand is looking good, products are looking good, strategy and partnerships are going well and given one or two more major wins, Nvidia will rise to the top very quickly.

Thanks to Ina Fried for (literally) last-minute access to All Things D at CES. Ina runs the Mobilized blog for All Things D and is on Twitter here.

Nvidia Showcase Tegra Games

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With an incoming surge of Tegra dual-core Android tablets and phones hitting the market Nvidia have made the move to highlight Tegra optimised games. To do this they have created a new Android app called Tegra Zone that will soon be available via the Android Market.

Tegra Zone will launch highlighting several games including Dungeon Defenders, Fruit Ninja HD, Back Breaker THD and Monster Madness. The highlight from that list is Dungeon Defends as it’s the first Unreal Engine 3 game to arrive on the Android platform offering immersive gameplay and stunning graphics.

Tegra Zone is designed to complement the Android Market as it offers additional information about the game such as professional reviews, gameplay videos and game trailers while at the same time allowing the user to download the game through the Android Market.

Source: Nvidia via TheNextWeb

“Have Patience” – Nvidia on Tablets at Computex.

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The tablet featured first in the press conference but there were no product announcements. We’ve actually left the event to head on out to the ASUS press conference.

The tablet has the “ability to allow is to enjoy nearly all the content that we would like to enjoy on a computer today” says Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia, who went on to talk up the potential market for tablets, his excitement and of course, the Tegra 2.

Surprisingly, he then said “have patience” and went on to explain that devices should come to market in the fall. Just how long is this Tegra story going to drag on?

Here are the relevant slides from the conference…

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Joojoo Update: Revamped Interface and hardware color; FCC Docs Show Nvidia ION, 3G inside

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We told you a little while back that the Joojoo got delayed a month due to an issue with the touchscreen. The Joojoo [product page] is expected to be released to pre-order customers on March 25th.

Interface/Video Playback

This convenient delay appears to have given Fusion Garage time to do a pretty major graphical overhaul. They’ve changed the odd, monochrome looking, single-color background to something a little more vibrant, and added a dash of color to the shortcut icons as well. I have to say that I like this move. People seemed confused about the Joojoo’s screen early on, simply due to the original interface design. It appeared as though the screen wouldn’t be able to display more than a few simple colors. Of course we know that isn’t the case, but the original design may have led someone, unfamiliar to the device, to that conclusion. See before and after shots of the home screen below:
joojoo home screen 1 joojoo home screen 2

There are some additional interface enhancements, such as a new, smaller, keyboard that can pop up over content for single handed use. Fusion Garage has also added local video playback support for the following formats: AVI, MPEG-4, MOV, WMV and WMA, FLV (Flash Video), VOB, OGG, OGM and OGV, MKV, DiVX and XViD. Read more about the interface changes (and see pictures as well) over at Engadget.

Hardware

joojoo ion As the Joojoo makes its way through the FCC (hat tip to Engadget for spotting it), we get to see the hardware teardown as well as the manual. Revealed in the manual is the fact that the Joojoo is running the Atom N270 CPU and using Nvidia ION (as we theorized in January), which explains why it is able to handle HD video playback, especially flash HD. It seems odd that Fusion Garage didn’t particularly state that the Joojoo uses Nvidia ION as a selling point.
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In the hardware teardown we can see that the unit is 3G equipped, though it is unclear whether or not pre-order models will ship with 3G. Officially, the Joojoo is a WiFi only device, though the CEO of Fusion Garage has said that 3G was on the way in 2010.

Fusion Garage also saw fit to change the color of the device itself. Instead of black, the unit will be shipping as a champagne color.

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It’ll be interesting to see how the iPad and the Joojoo compete once they finally hit the market. Will the iPad’s, refined — but more limited – web/app experience win over consumers? Or will the Joojoo’s custom interface, with access to the full web, be what the masses clamor for? Only time will tell.

Tegra2 Showcase at CES includes Eee Pad.

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All behind glass indicating that they are not yet ready for human consumption (read, months to go before they are ready for market) but looking good and showing that ODMs and OEMs are putting efforts into designing devices around ARM platforms. In the video you’ll get a brief view of tablets from Wistron, ASUS, Compal, Mitak, Notion Ink, Viewsonic and  Foxconn.

Obviously it’s interesting to see the EeePC brand in there and it indicates that an Eee PC tablet (apparently to be called the EPad or EeePad)  is on its way. Android is likely and pricing will be competitive. Netbooknews was reporting in Dec that it’s planned for March but in our recent podcast, Sascha (netbooknews) was talking about June / July. A few months to wait yet! More images of the Eee Pad below the video.

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Click to enlarge images.

Compal 10″ Tegra2 Tablet Design (Video)

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We saw a lot of tablets at CES and it was Nvidia who seemed to be pushing the category harder than anyone else. Apart from the Tegra2 display cabinet showing a whole series of devices (video) there were a few other interesting devices out on display. The video below shows a slim 10” Compal tablet that looks almost production ready in terms of casing but as with all the other devices there was no information about who would produce this device and when it would be available. As far was we know, this one, along with all the other prototypes we saw, might never come to the market.

The difference between CES and reality can be wide!

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