NVIDIA Kal-El CPUs to be Available This Fall

NVIDIA's Tegra Processor Line
NVIDIA's Tegra Processor Line
NVIDIA, the company whose processors power the majority of Android Honeycomb Tablets, prepares the Tegra 2's successor for a fall debut.

Word on NVIDIA's quad-core Cortex-A9 processor first hit the waves back in February. NVIDIA presented its technology roadmap at Mobile World Congress (MWC) and Kal-El, the CPU's code-name, headlined the path that was outlined in that brief. Now comes word that the processor is supposed to be available for tablets as early as October of this year.

This could mean that manufacturers would have sufficient time to incorporate the chip into designs for possible demos at CES 2012. The CPU will not be available for phones until sometime in 2012. 

NVIDIA claims that the processor will feature a 12-core NVIDIA GPU, and will run 5 times as fast as the current Tegra 2. Expected to be formally announced as the Tegra 3 processor, Kal-El is reportedly capable of rendering on-screen at resolutions of up to 2560 X 1600, and supposedly exceeds Intel's Core 2 Duo in performance.

The pace of Android Tablets arriving at retail has been very slow, with the first Honeycomb tablet, the Motorola Xoom, launching nearly a full year after the Apple iPad. There are roughly eight Android Tablet devices on the market now from major manufacturers: the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, HTC Flyer, LG G-Slate, Motorola Xoom, Toshiba Thrive, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Samsung Galaxy Tab, and the Acer Iconia Tab A500. This discounts budget tablets, and the Dell Streak series which is currently off of the market.

While there are several Honeycomb tablets on the verge of being released, the pace of device launches may now slow while manufacturers re-tool designs and manufacturing processes to accommodate NVIDIA's new processor. Hopefully, Google's next iteration of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, will also become available within the same time-frame. It could be easiest for manufacturers to migrate to a new architecture based on Kal-El and running the Ice Cream Sandwich version of the Android OS if they can do the step-up concurrently.

Source(s)

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Author: Jerry Myers, 2011-08- 4 (Update: 2012-05-26)