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Nvidia shows off the Tegra2 ‘mobile super chip’

Today at CES, Nvidia officially just kicked sand in the face of all other smartphone chip makers with the official unveiling of the dual-core Tegra2 chip, dubbed by Nvidia as the “mobile super chip”.

Although rumors of the chip have been floating around for awhile now, the Tegra2 dual-core chip, which will be used to power smartphones and tablets, was officially shown off today at CES. And it is impressive. In conjunction, earlier in the day, LG officially unveiled its upcoming Optimus 2x smartphone, which will be powered by the Tegra2 chip. But as Nvidia is quick to point out, the phone is not really a “smartphone”. It is actually a super phone.

The chip is so powerful that the new superphones are basically just small computers that happen to make phone calls when not occupied with playing console quality video games, or streaming live HD video. As you might expect with the next generation of smartphone chips, the Tegra2 powered devices will be faster, stronger, feature multitaksing, and be more graphically intense, but the degree to which the chips are powerful is staggering.

In a demonstration on stage that highlighted the Optimus 2X, the phone was able to play a game that was also being played on both PC and the PS3. Now, the PS3 is, and always has been considered a ridiculously powerful machine, so much so that even four years after it has been on the market, most think that it has not yet come close to reaching its potential. And now a device that slides into your pocket is able to rival it. The PS3 is still more powerful, but for a cell phone to be able to keep up is astounding.

To further the appeal of the Tegra2 chips, the devices it powers will also feature full Adobe integration, meaning that all Flash based websites will be fully accessible through Tegra2 powered mobile devices. The exclusion of Flash has long been a sticking point for iPhone users, and even the most powerful Android phones on the market have issues with Flash. By offering mobile devices that feature Flash compatibility, and adding in the sheer power of a dual core chip, the Tegra2 powered devices should be able to give users a fairly complete computer–comparable to where laptops were just a few years ago–that can fit in your hand.

Others are likely to counter the Tegra2 chip very quickly, but the game has changed. The era of the smartphone may have just ended. Now begins the age of the superphone.