Asustek Computer and Nvidia Corp. have already demonstrated a Tegra 3-based media tablet with 7" screen that is projected to cost $249. According to chief executive officer of Nvidia, this summer Tegra 3-based slates from less renowned brands will cost starting from $199.
Amazon and Barnes & Noble already sell own-brand media tablets with 7" screens for $199, but those devices feature proprietary operating systems and require consumers to buy additional content or programs, which allows platform holders to compensate low cost of actual devices. Both Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet are based on relatively outdated platforms that are not very cost efficient, but with Tegra 3 everything seems to be different thanks to high level of integration.
"We took out $150 in build materials, things like expensive memory. At $199, you can just about buy a tablet at a 7-Eleven [retail chain],” said Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia, in an interview with the New York Times.
Separately, Nvidia's chief exec pins a lot of hopes onto media tablets powered by Windows 8 that are due later this year. Unfortunately, Google Android has not gained traction on the market of slates so far and for many Windows 8 would seem to be a better solution than Android or iOS.
“Android hasn’t developed as I had hoped. For many people, though, work is still the primary reason to have a computer. They want Windows to work well, they want Outlook to work well. A tablet running Windows 8 with Tegra could be very nice,” said Mr. Huang.
Nvidia Tegra 3 "Kal-El" system-on-chip (SoC) is based on four high-performance Cortex-A9 general-purpose cores with Neon accelerators (1.4GHz single-core or 1.30GHz quad-core mode) and one power-optimized Cortex-A9 core (up to 500MHz), features a GeForce graphics processing unit 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. The new device integrates single-channel DDR3L-1500/LPDDR2-1066 memory controller, e.MMC 4.41, SD 3.0, SATA II, 7.1-channel audio controller, faster image signal processor and so on. According to Nvidia's own performance benchmarks, Tegra 3 is 50% - 200%+ faster than Tegra 2 in various applications.
Asus ME370T, which will sport Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC as well as 7” screen with 1280*800 resolution, will sell for $249. The device will also feature Google Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” and will therefore be better than comparable low-cost tablets from little-known manufacturers as well as Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet, which cost in the range between $199 and $249, thanks to considerably better hardware and more compatible operating system.