Nvidia Tegra Chip to Power Next-Gen Mobiles

With interest in subnotebooks, UMPCs and powerful portable media players heating up, competition to produce the hardware that powers these hot-selling new devices is also getting fierce. Intel has its Atom mobile processor, Via has its new Nano, and now, Nvidia is also getting in on the game with the Tegra line of processors.

Deviating from its traditional focus exclusively on graphics chips, the Tegra will be an all-in-one system on a chip with a footprint no bigger than a dime. That tiny footprint will roll together an 800MHz ARM processor, HD video processor, and GeForce GPU, to deliver enhanced graphics in mobile platforms.

Nvidia unveiled first processor in the Tegra line, the APX 2500, back in February without the Tegra name. Its newer, more powerful siblings, the Tegra  600 and 650, debuted Monday along with all of Nvidia’s new platform fanfare. They will be able to play 1080p HD video, drive displays up to WSXGA+ resolution, power 3D interfaces with its integrated GeForce GPU, and do it all efficiently enough to keep chugging for 30 hours worth of HD video playback or 130 hours of audio playback.  Nvidia claims that’s 10 times better than competing hardware with similar graphics capabilities.

“Our vision was to create a platform that will enable the second personal computer revolution – which will be mobile centric, with devices that last days on a single charge, and yet has the web, high definition media, and computing experiences we’ve come to expect from our PC,” said Nvidia president Jen-Hsun Huang.” Tegra is a completely ground-up computer-on-a-chip architecture that consumes 100 times less power. Mobile internet and computing devices built with Tegra are going to be magical.”

According to BBC News, Nvidia expects Tegra-equipped devices to run in the $200 to $250 range when they debut, but the company has yet to give a better idea when that will be. A prototype of the processor will likely be on display at Computex, a trade show in Taiwan that runs June 3 through June 7.