Samsung Electronics reportedly plans to demonstrate a tablet based on Nvidia Corp.'s Tegra 3 "Kal El" system-on-chip at Microsoft Corp.'s Build developers conference this month. The demonstration will showcase how an SoC with four ARM cores can handle Microsoft's next-generation Windows 8 operating system.
"This new product manufactured by Samsung will be the company's first collaboration with Microsoft in its hardware devices," a source with knowledge of Samsung plans told Korea Economic Daily, reports AFP news-agency.
In case the unofficial information about the tablet is correct, then it will not be only the first time of a close collaboration between Microsoft and Samsung, but between Microsoft, Samsung and Nvidia Corp., whose quad-core Tegra 3 "Kal-El" SoC powers the slate, according to ZDNet. Moreover, the tablet will likely be the first device of such kind in the world with a quad-core SoC.
Unfortunately, given the fact that Microsoft Windows 8 will not be available for several quarters from now, the demonstration to be held at Build will only be a proof-of-concept, not something one could buy in stores. For Nvidia, it means that it will be the first company in the world to demonstrate a quad-core ARM application processor for Windows 8 (and probably Andoid). For Samsung it means that it is ready for Windows 8. For Microsoft it means that there is "untraditional" ARM hardware that can handle Windows 8 operating system.
According to Strategy Analytics, the market for applications processors in tablets is growing rapidly. ARM-based processors accounted for 95% of total tablet applications processor shipments in Q1 2011. In non-Apple tablets, Nvidia held 34.4% unit shipment share in Q1 2011 and in Q2 2011 that share probably grew. With Tegra 3 "Kal El" out by the end of the year, Nvidia will have chances to solidify its positions.
Nvidia Kal El the system-on-chip (SoC) is based on four Cortex-A9 application cores, will feature a GeForce graphics processor with twelve stream processors and will have a new display and video engines capable of supporting Blu-ray disc video playback and stereo-3D graphics output. Other capabilities and clock-speeds of the novelty are not known previously. The chip developer claims that the new chip outperforms Nvidia Tegra 2 by up to five times.
Microsoft, Nvidia and Samsung did not comment on the news-story.