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CES: Nvidia announces Tegra 4 mobile processor and Wii U tablet rival for gamers

by Doug Drinkwater

January 7 2013

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang shows off the Project Shield gaming handheld at CES
Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang shows off the Project Shield gaming handheld at CES

The Consumer Electronics Show may have only just started but early news has already come from Nvidia, which has announced a fast new mobile processor and a gaming handheld device.

The chipmaker, as expected, took the wraps off its next-generation Tegra 4 mobile processor at the show, with the chip becoming the successor to the Tegra 3 system-on-chip (SoC), which debuted last year.

Dubbed the “world’s fastest mobile processor” by CEO Jen-Hsun Huang at the firm’s press conference, the new chip offers 72  Nvidia GeForce GPU cores -- making it around six times faster at processing graphics than the Tegra 3 -- and can process 25 web pages in 27 seconds.

The chip, which is said to be three times faster than the Kindle Fire HD, is also 45% better on battery life in “common use cases”, promises enhanced photography features and supports up to 14 hours of HD video playback when running on an Android phone.

It is the first quad-core ARM Cortex A-15 based system-on-chip on the market and, perhaps more crucially, becomes the first Nvidia chip to support an optional integrated 4G LTE modem.

That wasn’t the only announcement from Nvidia in Las Vegas, with the chipmaker also using the world’s largest technology exhibition to unleash the new “Project Shield” gaming handheld device, which is powered by a Tegra 4 chip.

Representing an Android tablet rival for Nintendo’s Wii U, the Project Shield sports a 5-inch 1280 x 720 resolution display (294 pixels per inch) in a clamshell design, with joysticks, buttons and other controls sitting below the multi-touch screen.

Nvidia says that gamers can download Android games from Google Play and Nvidia’s TegraZone area, or wirelessly stream Windows PC Steam games (if the PC is using a GeForce GTX GPU) to the tablet.

For all this news, Nvidia was surprisingly quiet on when both the clamshell device and the Tegra 4 will launch, although presumably the chips will arrive sooner rather than later.

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