Tablets Guide

NVIDIA's Tegra 3 Momentum and Where It's Heading

NVIDIA's Tegra 3 Momentum and Where It's Heading



Tegra 3 - Super Phones, Super Tablets and Super Cars

Tegra 3 - Powering Super Phones to Super Cars

Following up with the Windows 8 demo running on a Tegra 3 tablet, we'll share a few other key takeaway points from the NVIDIA press conference.

First of all, NVIDIA shared with the audience that consumers' appetite for tablets has been ferocious and its uptake is far higher than other established product groups like smartphones - when compared in the same time frame of its infant years. Figures and facts were compiled from multiple market research organizations such as IDC and Morgan Stanley to name a few. In our opinion, the main reason for the highly positive response is because former products such as smartphones and other touchscreen enabled devices have laid the groundwork, set base expectations and most importantly, familiarity. The arrival of tablets just built on from these former devices to offer a larger but still personal experience. Whether the rapid uptake will remain is anyone’s guess, but it seems like tablets are here to stay (more on this point later).

The projected trajectory seen above for tablet uptake is purely speculation, but the point to note is that NVIDIA is extremely committed to these emerging platforms. Just as how Tegra 2 is driving the current wave of tablets, their Tegra 3 is ready to kick things up a notch this year with up to five cores powering these devices.

With tablets becoming ever more popular and easier to use as their features and operating systems evolve (such as the current Android 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich), enthusiasts and casual consumers alike are expecting even more out of these personal sidekicks. For one, imaging capabilities are getting so much better, that raising your tablet to take a photo is no longer shunned upon (well, by techies). In fact, it’s almost becoming a norm as the convenience it offers is akin to a smartphone - the only difference is that the tablet is likely readily available in your hands (in comparison to your smarthphone that’s likely to be in your pocket) and offers a larger display to clearly frame your shot.

Taking photos is one thing, but did you ever imagine abandoning traditional image editing programs and relying on small downloadable apps to spruce up your images in a jiffy? More than ever, it’s now a reality. Snapseed is one such popular app that NVIDIA showcased during the event to bring about the ease of editing and managing photos quickly and effortlessly.

With the tablet being a device that sits right smack between the capabilities of a smartphone and a notebook, an aspect many of us are pinning for his bringing desktop computing accessibility to the tablet. This is perhaps why Windows 8 is such an important OS to hopefully pull this off elegantly. Meanwhile, NVIDIA showcased an app called Splashtop THD that allows you to remotely connect to your PC (either wired or wirelessly) and use it as though your Android tablet is running off a Windows based system. By setting up this connection, you can enjoy all your media stored on your system without having to load it up in your tablet, run applications as though your PC was in your hand and even enjoy gaming! Watch this video we captured from the live demo at the event:-

There are three points to this showcase above. Firstly, it’s to show off the underlying processor power of the Tegra 3 chip that it’s more than capable of handling all your daily needs. Secondly, it's also to iterate that consumers have become rather demanding and are looking at ways to enjoy the tablet in new ways without being constrained to a set of parameters. Thirdly, the tablet is indeed a great bridging device to allow you to do more than what a phone could do with its limited screen size, but is easier to use and more portable than a full fledged notebook.

These pointers underlie the reason why tablets are here to stay - until at least the next evolution where notebooks and tablets are likely to merge with technological improvements. We once mentioned that netbooks were just devices carved to fulfil a particular need for more mobile notebooks and they would cease to exist when notebooks have sufficiently evolved to offer this experience. Well, with the emergence of Ultrabooks and tablets, netbooks are steadily going by the way of the Dodo.

Last but not least, computing and consumer electronic products as you know it are surely and steadily impacting the automotive industry. With Tegra 3’s low power consumption and good multimedia capabilities, NVIDIA has expanded its traditional realms of computing and consumer electronics to even powering super cars - and that’s why NVIDIA’s new Tegra slogan is "powering super phones to super cars".

Technically, the Tegra engine is mainly used to power up the information and entertainment systems of these high-end cars as they boast more advanced GUIs to interface with the drivers in new ways. By taking on the automotive industry, NVIDIA is steadily expanding its base of expertise and take on other areas of growth outside of the PC industry from which they first started out.

NVIDIA already has dealings with Audi, Tesla and Lamborghini to power their infotainment systems and there are more such alliances to come.

In the words of NVIDIA’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, "Cars are the new consumer electronics device."