Tegra 2 to be shown at CES

We’re still waiting for Tegra devices

WE’VE SEEN MULTIPLE DEMOS of a wide range of Tegra based devices ranging from small handheld media players to smartbooks. With the single exception of Microsoft’s Zune HD, we have yet to see any other Tegra powered devices hit retail, yet Nvidia is already getting ready to talk about Tegra 2 at CES.

We can’t knock Nvidia for wanting to talk about upcoming technology, but according to Xbit labs, Nvidia is getting ready to show off devices based on the new platform. This could well be to keep its partners with the program so to say, as during the past six months several very competitive solutions have appeared to take on Tegra. The most popular of the new generation of ARM processors is the Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, but with Texas Instruments, Marvell and even Creative and it’s ZiiLabs bringing out new ARM based solutions, Nvidia can’t be feeling too comfortable at the moment.

Nvidia is pinning a lot of hope on Tegra, but it’s unclear what is holding the devices back from entering retail. The Mobinnova Elan, or N910 as it seems to be called these days, seemed to be a ready product several months ago and yours truly visited the company HQ in Taiwan and got some hands on time with a device. In this case it seems like the software was an issue, as Nvidia decided to go with Windows CE as its software platform of choice for smartbooks, which might have proven an unwise move. However, Google’s Android operating system has been ported to support Tegra, but we’ve yet to hear about a single device with this combination.

Tegra 2 is said to feature a dual-core ARM processor and we wouldn’t be surprised if Nvidia has gone from using the ARM11 core to one of ARM’s newer Cortex based cores. It’s also very likely that Nvidia has improved the graphics core, especially as Nvidia has already stated that Tegra 2 will be more than twice as powerful as its predecessor. We wouldn’t expect too much in terms of new features outside of this though, as the first generation of Tegra processors were already fairly feature packed, but a tweak here or there is expected.

We’re only a few weeks away from finding out what Nvidia is cooking up, but somehow Tegra 2 doesn’t seem that appealing when we don’t even know what the original Tegra platform is capable of. Let’s see some first generation devices at the kind of cost that was talked about – sub-$300 for a smartbook – and then we can start worrying about next generation hardware.S|A

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