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At the Consumer Electronics Show 2010 Nvidia Corp. unveiled its new-generation Tegra 2 system-on-chip (SoC) that it positions for forthcoming tablets with high-resolution screens and rich multimedia capabilities. The new Tegra sports dual-core ARM Cortex A9 central processing unit at 1GHz clock-speed as well as improved graphics core.

Nvidia Tegra 2 SoCs features dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 central processing unit, GeForce graphics core with programmable pixel shader and programmable vertex shader support (OpenGL ES 2.0 compatible), build-in low-power DDR2 memory controller, NAND flash memory controller, audio processor, high-definition video processor that supports MPEG 4, H.264, VC-1/WMV9 decoding, H.264 and MPEG4 encoding and features some other capabilities. At present Nvidia does not reveal a lot of technical details about the Tegra 2, but claims that it has about 4 times performance advantage compared to the first-generation Tegra SoC. The company mostly talks about tablets and smartbooks rather than smartphones based on the new Tegra. Earlier Nvidia promised roll-outs of Tegra 2-based tablet PCs, smartbooks, netbooks, MIDs throughout the first half [of the year] and smartphones in the second half of 2010.

“Consumers can now get the tablet experience they’ve always dreamed of and they can leave the power cord at home. Only Nvidia Tegra can make this happen. We are driving tomorrow’s tablets today,” said Michael Rayfield, general manager of the mobile business at Nvidia.

Despite of rather dramatic increase of performance, Nvidia Tegra 2 should retain low power consumption of the first-gen SoC due to the fact that it is made using 40nm process technology.

The new Tegra chip is now in production. Developers can order the Tegra Developer Kit to create applications for Tegra-powered devices such as tablets, smartbooks and smartphones.

“Without question, 2010 is going to be year of the tablet. The new Nvidia Tegra processor has a unique feature set critical for tablets -- fast web browsing with fully rendered pages, uncompromised graphics, snappy user interface and HD video - all with the battery life we’ve only seen with cell phones,” said Tim Bajarin, president of market research company Creative Strategies.

Tags: Nvidia, Tegra, Cortex

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