NVIDIA Quad Core Android Tablet, Codenamed Kal-el [VIDEO]


Remember when 1GHz processors were the real deal? Yeah, within the past year. Remember when Dual Core processors like the Tegra 2 were cutting edge and powering the hottest handsets and tablets? Yeah, that’s still cutting edge and the first dual core smartphones and tablets are still being announced. So then what NVIDIA showed us today at MWC – a Quad Core Android Tablet – could be the sharpest edge of all.

Tegra 2 is just now getting out of the gate and we’re already looking ahead to Quad Core Android tablets in August and Quad Core Android phones in November/December thanks to NVIDIA’s products. You can look at lots of different benchmarks and comparisons, but processor details often go over the head of even the tech savvy. Here is what you need to know:

  • NVIDIA’s Quad Core already enjoys 5X better performance than current Tegra 2 (Dual Core) processors
  • Tegra 2 is multiple times more efficient than single core processors, meaning Quad Core is exponentially better than processors in most of the hottest Android handsets currently on the market
  • Because power consumption is split across 4 cores and 1 core isn’t overworked with lots of heavy lifting, each core is more often in a “resting” or “relaxed” state which exerts less energy. Bottom line? Longer battery life.
  • Everything you do on your phone – web browsing, video watching, game playing, multi-tasking and beyond – will have improved speed and clarity with Quad Core

Two big name manufacturers are already on board and testing Quad Core while NVIDIA also works with game developers to optimize performance. In the game shown in the video, they were able to cram 620 more soldiers onto the battlefield, taking the experience from a gaming like atmosphere to a realistic warrior melee.

Because of NVIDIA’s deep roots in gaming, they’re working closely with game developers who can provide improved experiences specifically with Dual-Core and Quad-Core solutions. We’ve seen Alpha versions of “TegraZone” which highlight these games, many of which have extra levels and added features in addition to improved performance, and we’re expecting Tegra Zone to launch (in beta) in the coming weeks.

NVIDIA’s head start is notable- Qualcomm won’t be bringing Quad Core to market until 2012 and if there’s anything we know about the Android world, it’s that manufacturers and carriers want their high-end smart phones packed with the latest and greatest specs. There are too many competitive products – if you try to skimp on the high-end you’ll be DOA. Case and point? The HTC Flyer with a single core processor and Android 2.x. I expect the XOOM, Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Optimus Pad to blow the Flyer out of the water (or shoot it out of the air?) even after and if it gets Android 3.0.

The folks at NVIDIA are really pushing dual and quad core to their partners and rightfully so. I asked them what percentage of new Android devices would be running single vs. dual vs. quad core by the end of the year or in 2012 but it’s nothing they can predict. Why? Because although they believe multiple cores are almost always better, they can’t force them upon partners (again, the HTC Flyer is a prime example).

Don’t forget that high-end Android phones aren’t the only show in town. It’s perfectly possible that new launches of mid-range devices purposefully keep their processors lower-powered for the sake affordability. But want to know why I’m most excited? Because the bar for what’s considered “Mid-Range” for Android Phones is continually rising.

While the most awesome Android Phones were powered by 1GHz processors 1 year ago, Quad Core will be powering the most awesome Android phones 1 year from now. When that happens, those buying Android phones on the lower-end will likely be rocking around 1GHz single core if not some sort of dual core to promote efficiency/battery.

Essentially, yesterday’s Top of the line Android phones will be tomorrow’s mid-range entry-level smartphone, thanks much in part to the breakneck speeds at which NVIDIA is improving processors.

Of course there are two sides to every story and one huge negative comes out of all of this: do you want to splurge for a cutting edge Android device now when you know Quad Core is on the way this year? That’s the unfortunate dilemma of a gadget geek, new things are ALWAYS on the horizon and you ALWAYS want what’s new. You could blame it on NVIDIA, but I think you’d better not… we all want them to continue what they’re doing. It’s only February but it’s already time to start writing your list for Santa.

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. The one thing that is cool about this is the prospect of real games on Android due to the Nvidia connection. Otherwise, quad core is more marketing than useful.

  2. I WANT!!!! :) Lol

  3. so glad that when i get my next phone these will be out

  4. I suppose having a quad core will future-proof you for a while, what with being able to overclock each core…..

  5. I really like this company. Back in the late 90s they were a struggling 3D graphics chip upstart, taking on the mighty 3DFX. Later it became the new King and bought out 3DFX itself. Now they are the market leaders in GPUs looking, starting to dominate the Tablet CPU market. Intel will be the next 3DFX…

  6. goblueboy – me too. Not super close but I’m fully eligible in June so I’ll have time to watch everything unfold before I buy my next phone.

  7. This is crazy

  8. Ugh

    Now I wonder – to get the Xoom or wait for the SuperXoom?

  9. When this comes out their will be something better on the horizon. Nothing is future proof anymore.

  10. central processing (cpu) is good…but the glory will go to the best graphic processing(gpu)!
    dont let this stuff fool u!

  11. I’ve been a big fan of nvidia for a long time and used their hardware ever since the demise of 3dfx when nvidia bought them out. I’m glad to see they are still on the bleeding edge of gpu and cpu design.

    That aside did anyone else find it annoying with the guy constantly saying 3x, 5x etc? While it’s slower to type “3x” than “3 times” it’s no quicker to say.

  12. I am curious to see when Nvidia realizes there is room for them to develop their own device. One optimized for their content that can also place a phone call. Lets face it, the phone part is nothing. Its leveraging what android is capable of doing that will make up money.

  13. This is why I buy my phones from craigslist and don’t have to renew my contract with Verizon. I can get a droid x or 2 for 150 to 250 all day and they are great phones. I want but don’t need what’s coming around the corner. It’s hard to overcome that want.

  14. ok with nvidia bring out the quad core processors this year for tablet and phone later this year to early will is pretty impressive.

    I just want to know when prime sense (the creators of the xbox kinect http://www.primesense.com) is going to create a motion capture interface for phones and tablets. I can just see it not waiting in line for a restrurant and some ones kid flying all over the place play a game on his phone or tablet with 3D capture interface. I know sounds funny but it will happen.

  15. kal el= kill all??? hmmm lol

  16. I was planning on just purchasing an archos 101 1ghz processor, Rooting and Booting but now im kind of convinced spending the money for a multi-core processor is worth it so much for that engine swap on my Audi.

  17. @brian kal el is superman’s name on planet krypton. :)

  18. If AMD didnt buy ATI they woulda killed it for low power consumption. it would be tremendous if NVIDIA bought Shittee AMD

  19. Kal-el… son of Jor-el… kneel before Zod!

  20. yeah, but when is it going to play World of Warcraft?

  21. Amd isn’t shitty. Get off their case.
    Intel sucks..

  22. Compared to the Tegra 2:
    Check out the 2nd clip….I want one yesterday….

  23. @ brian,
    I was thinking more along the lines of what TF said. ;)

  24. Also, I prefer AMD/ATI over Intel and NVidia.
    They my not be the very best, top of the line, numero uno, etc, but they do offer the better price/performance.

  25. I believe a forthcoming Nvidia chip set is codenamed “Kal-El”, not the tablet itself….

  26. Did he say a 12-core GPU?

  27. Get xoom now and get xoom quad later…….to keep myself happy:)

  28. @ #24.Msgnyc I agree with you! AMD ftw :P

  29. I want a Quad core with 10 hours +. If this is not possible, all this quad core – hexa core talk is great but not practical. I will wait for battery technology to catch up with processor technology or I will choose a modest processor that can give me 10+hours of battery.

  30. …. that tablet has more cores than my laptop and he speaks of this being in phones this year? that makes me a sad panda

  31. I don’t get the battery life thing. A larger engine uses more gasoline. How can a quad core increase battery life? It’s still the same amount of usage spread over 4 cores, instead of all on 1, but how does that equal better battery life? Anybody care to expound?

  32. So can this thing get netflix now? Can we get hulu, awesome graphics games, or some official apps soon? Besides games there are way more official apps on ios, today. Not in a few years maybe, after microsoft mobile gets netflix first, not possibly, it’s all on there right now. I just don’t want to give up all that content with an android tablet. Surfing the web is okay, but having the app option for all the websites I visit seems much better.

  33. I can just imagine this with Microsoft Surface. That’s pipe dreamin’, I know. heh

    But wow. This is amazing stuff. I wasn’t in the market for a tablet, but if this is priced competitively, I just might have to jump on board the tablet train. I can only imagine how great strategy based games would be on one of these suckers.

    Colour me Quad!

  34. Waiting game as never been this fun. Oh ima get me a tablet one day but i wanna see how for they’ll go with the specs. I have dream, that one day…

  35. NVIDIA I will make you a deal. I will buy an Android tablet of each series that you put out. Just don’t let Apple use your products, or at least charge them an additional 30% to punish Jobs for his greed.

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