Nvidia Kal-El promises quad-core mobile graphics

Nvidia’s Tegra graphics processor might be the current top-dog for graphics in the universe of Android devices, but Nvidia has already outlined its plans to dominate the mobile graphics arena for years to come. Last February, the company announced its forthcoming Kal-El quad-core mobile graphics chip, and now the company has provided an update on its progress, releasing a demo video of Kal-El’s real-time lighting and physics capabilities on a HoneyComb Android tablet—and all the lighting and physics are calculated in real time, rather than merely playing back canned video animations. The video is called “GlowBall,” and features a glowing ball lighting up and moving through a 3D “creepy funhouse” environment.

Nvidia Kal-El demo (GlowBall)

“This shows off the power of true dynamic lighting, rendered in real-time with physics (no canned animations here, folks),” Nvidia’s Matt Wuebbling wrote in the company blog. ” This marks the first time this type of lighting is feasible on a mobile device.”

Nvidia claims Kal-El boats five times the graphics performance of the Tegra 2 processors currently powering graphics in devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Motorola Xoom. Unlike the Tegra 2, however, Kal-El boasts a quad-core processor powering the Android device, supplemented by a 12-core graphics processor. Nvidia’s video shows that the GlowBall demo is leveraging all that computing power for its real-time effects: shutting down two of the device’s main processor cores has a dramatic impact on Glowball’s overall performance.

Graphics developers like Nvidia face a conundrum with mobile graphics capabilities; on one hand, they have technology from their PC businesses to put major computing and graphic processing capabilities into a wide range of devices; on the other hand, the power and heat-dissipation requirements for mobile devices impose some severe constraints: nobody is going to want to use a tablet device with fabulous graphics that’s too hot to hold and burns through is battery in half an hour. For now, graphics developers are focussing on spreading graphics duties across a number of lower-power processing cores, hoping to get more work done in each clock cycle while retaining lower power requirements.

Nvidia hasn’t announced when Kal-El chips will be available for device manufacturers—emphasizing the demo was produced using a pre-production device—although industry reports have Kal-El devices hitting the market in time for the end-of-year holiday buying season. Nvidia also promises production versions of Kal-El will be significantly faster than the current demo.

Kal-El is, of course, the Kryptonian name for Superman. Following on the superhero theme for its mobile processors, Nvidia has outlined mobile processors codenamed Wayne, Logan, and Stark for 2012, 2013, and 2014, respectively.


Bethesda's sharp new Elder Scrolls mobile game is blunted by microtransactions

Elder Scroll: Blades brings elements of the most popular open-world RPG to mobile phones. It has many of the features fans will expect but, in its current Early Access state, lacks the real charm and depth of its predecessors.

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

Gaming desktops are powerful, but they tie you down to your desk. For those of us who prefer a more mobile experience, here are the best gaming laptops on the market, ranging from budget machines to maxed-out, wallet-emptying PCs.

The Department of Justice may prevent the T-Mobile-Sprint merger

T-Mobile and Sprint are getting closer to merging. After a few failed attempts, the two companies announced their merger at the start of 2018. The new T-Mobile could be better positioned to take on the likes of Verizon and AT&T.

Apple Arcade reportedly supported by investments of more than $500 million

Apple Arcade will reportedly be supported by investments worth more than $500 million. Apple is also said to be offering incentives to developers if they decide to release their games as mobile exclusives for Apple Arcade.

Spruce up your Lenovo smartphone with the best Moto Mods for the Moto Z-series

Moto Mods, the snap-on accessories compatible with Lenovo's Moto Z-series smartphones add a lot of value without adding a lot of bulk. Looking to try one out? Here are a few of our favorite Moto Mods.

The Pixel 3 range will soon be coming to T-Mobile's network

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

The Pixel 3a and 3a XL will be coming to the U.S. with T-Mobile

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.

The black satin Razer Phone 2 is now available for $500

The Razer Phone 2 is finally here, and it's got upgraded specs, that super-smooth 120Hz display, and an updated design. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the Razer Phone 2.

The best LG G7 ThinQ cases will keep your phone looking new

The LG G7 ThinQ comes with a powerful processor, versatile cameras, and amazing sound. But a powerful phone still needs protection and you might want to change the style. Here are the best LG G7 ThinQ cases.

Multiple phone leaks show May 21 is going to be a big day for Honor

Honor will launch at least one new smartphone on May 21, at an event taking place in London. Leaks have indicated the Honor 20 will take center stage, with a Lite version, and perhaps even another model also showing up on the day.

Breaking news: Samsung responds to reported Galaxy Fold display issues

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.

The Avalon V is Alcatel’s first Verizon-exclusive smartphone

Alcatel is has announced a new phone, the Avalon V -- but this budget device isn't what makes the announcement special. It's Alcatel's first phone on the Verizon network, and it's available now.

Big, beautiful, and breakable: Check out the best Galaxy S8 Plus cases

There’s no denying Samsung’s ability to turn out an attractive smartphone, but glass curves are expensive to fix and metal chips easily. We've rounded up the best Galaxy S8 Plus cases on the market.

Sidestep banking fees with the nationwide launch of T-Mobile Money

T-Mobile has launched its Money banking service nationwide in the U.S., and it offers an extremely tempting set of features for everyone, including industry-leading interest rates, a powerful app, and no banking fees.