NVIDIA launches Windows 8 developer program

As I noted yesterday; NVIDIA, alongside other hardware manufacturers, is heavily involved in the development of Windows 8 and to prove this the company has just launched its own Windows 8 developer program to help developers by proving tools and and resources for building ARM and X86 applications. You can expect Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Intel and AMD to launch similar developer programs in the coming weeks.Remember that you will be able to start downloading the developer preview of Windows 8 tonight at around 8PM PT. Full press release after the break:

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NVIDIA unveils upcoming Tegra Roadmap. Hopes to power all platforms even Windows Phone

Nvidia‘s CEO Jen Hsun Huang discussed and partially unveiled his company’s Tegra roadmap last week during the Citi Global Technology Conference and the Kaufman Brothers, L.P. Investor Conference. As of right now Nvidia’s Tegra SoC are principally powering several high-end Android smartphones and the vast majority of Android 3.0 tablets but things are bound to change in 2012 with the launch of Windows 8 (the ARM version in this case). NVIDIA along with Qualcomm and Texas Instrument are all working on getting their upcoming SoC to work with Windows 8 and it is also expected that Microsoft is going to start handing out free Win8 prototype tablets powered by NVIDIA’s new Quad-Core Cortex A9 Kal-el Chipset this week to all developers at the Build conference in LA.

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NVIDIA acquires baseband and RF chip manufacturer Icera

NVIDIA’s current Tegra line of mobile SoCs have one glaring weakness: they don’t integrated a built-in baseband / RF radio so OEMs have to combine NVIDIA‘s offering with an other companies radio module ( usually Qualcomm, STE etc..). This is essentially means that designing a Tegra based handsets can be more expensive and time consuming for and OEM compared to other competing platforms like Qualcomm’s SnapDragon which includes everything from the GPS receiver to the FM radio. Today’s announcement that the GPU’s giant will acquire baseband and RF chip manufacturer Icera is a big step forward and will probably incite more OEMs to use nVidia’s upcoming mobile SoCs. Press release after the break:

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First Adreno 220 benchmarks show that it is a beast

Qualcomm’s Adreno GPU’s have always been seen as being a sub-par graphics compared to competing offerings from Imagination (PowerVR) and others like NVIDIA’s Tegra. This was essentially true with the Adreno 200 on Windows Mobile and Android mainly because of poor driver quality. Things are a bit different on Windows Phone 7 where the Adreno 200 is the only currently supported GPU, thanks to the tight integration with the OS and relatively good support provided by Microsoft. You can check out my recent Fable Coin Golf video to see that some pretty nice things can be done with it.

The Adreno 205 which is part of the MSM8X55 SoC package is a step forward in terms of performance and can be comparable in some case with the current top dog, the PowerVR SGX540 as seen in my benchmarks here. Qualcomm has also recently released new drivers for the 205 which slightly improves its performance compared to what you see in my benches (they are the ones used by Sony Ericsson in the Xperia Play).

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PlayStation Certified games coming to Tegra 2 powered Android devices

The Android ecosystem is about to see some consolidation in the near future and may become a viable gaming platform thanks to Sony recent investments. NVIDIA has just announced (via the Android Tegra Zone) that the PlayStation Suite framework and associated PlayStation Certified games will be compatible with Tegra 2 powered devices (tablets and handsets). Sony PlayStation certified games have so far only been shown running on Qualcomm’s MSM8X55 platform running on the Adreno 205 GPU like the Xperia Play which you can see in action in my hands on video here.

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NVIDIA Tegra Zone Android Market section officially launched

People familiar with the PC Graphics industry know that one of NVIDIA‘s biggest strength is its developer relation and evangelism publicly know as The Way it’s Meant To BE Played program. With the arrival of the first Tegra 2 powered Android devices NVIDIA has officially launched its Tegra Zone section in the Android Marketplace which is only accessible to devices powered by the company’s chipsets. It contains graphically upgraded version of current big hits like Fruit Ninja and other exclusive that are supposed to showcase the power of the GPU inside the Tegra2 SoC. Keep in mind that most of these games could technically run on other competing products (like the SGX540) but this is unfortunately way things are done in the industry. Companies have to differentiate theirs products one way or another so you get even more fragmentation in the ecosystem as a result. But there’s no denying that NVIDIA’s hardware offering is one of the best right now and from what I saw at MWC they are really pushing hard to get a foothold in the mobile market. Full press release after the break and video of the Trega 2 in action:

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Samsung Galaxy S II to either use a Tegra 2 SoC or Exynos 4210 depending on region. Enter the Samsung GT-i9103

As noted on the official Samsung Galaxy S II specs sheet the Samsung application processor powering the device “May not be applicable in some regions”. This essentially means that there are going to be other versions of the device sold in some regions with an SoC other than the Exynos 4210. Turns out that it will most probably be the Samsung GT-i9103 which is powered by nVidia’s Tegra 2 ( it just showed up in the GLBenchmark database).

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LG Optimus Pad preview: Hands on video

The LG Optimus Pad is planned to be the second Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet to hit the market later this year after the Motorola Xoom finally launchs at the end of this month in the US. What sets the Optimus Pad apart from its direct competition is its physical size and smaller 8.9 inch screen (15:9 aspect ratio) which was specifically designed to be easily portable with one hand. The device also packs two 5 Mpix cameras to shoot 720P 3D Stereoscopic content which can then be viewed on a 3D enabled TV through the device’s HDMI port, directly on the device screen in red/blue anaglyph mode or uploaded to YouTube’s 3D channel. Out of all of the Honeycomb tablet’s I’ve played with the LG Optimus Pad was surprisingly the snappiest and smoothest even though they were all powered by the same nVidia Tegra 2 chipset. But I’ will obviously reserve my final judgment until the final retail products are released. Check out my hands-on video after the break:

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LG Optimus 3D and Optimus Tab specifications unveiled

LG has just unveiled some of the hardware specifications of the LG Optimus 3D and Optimus Pad ahead of their official outing tomorrow morning here in Barcelona. The major surprise here is that unlike the Optimus 2X and Optimus Pad the Optimus 3D isn’t powered by an nVidia Tegra 2 but LG decided to use the newest TI OMAP 4 dual-core SoC instead. The Optimus 3D sure looks like multimedia beast with it’s glasses free 3D screen, Dual cameras (3D video recording and DNLA/HDMI output capability. I’ll go hands-on with both devices tomorrow. Press release after the break:

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In depth LG Optimus 2X and Tegra 2 review

Ready for some in-depth and techinal action? Anandtech has post a really nice review of the LG Optimus 2X Android smartphone and its nVidia Tegra 2 SoC. As you probably already know the Optimus 2x is the first smartphone powered by the Tegra 2 to hit the market and has been ranking high in 3D benchmarks ever since it first appeared in leaked picture a coupe of months ago. So how does it stack up against the competition? Well first off the Tegra 2 is also the first Dual-Core Cortex A9 chipset so it was interesting to see how it performs compared to the current single core Cortex A8 CPUs like Samsung’s Hummingbird , Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoC’s (the Scorpion isn’t a real A8 but a highly modified version of it) and TI’s OMAP3.

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LG Optimus Pad G-Slate Specifications unveiled: 3D Camera confirmed

T-Mobile US and LG have just unveiled the hardware specifications of the LG G-Slate which was first teased in Las Vegas during CES last month. Similar to the LG Optimus 3D unveiled yesterday, the LG Optimus Pad aka G-Slate will feature a 3D camera (capable of shooting 1080P 3D footage) and the same Tegra 2 Dual-Cortex A9 SoC but glasses are required to watch the 3D content on the device or on a 3D TV in 1080P via its HDMI port (the LG Optimus 3D has a glasses free 3D display). The 8.9 inch display is also a tiny bit smaller than the 10.1 display of the Motorola Xoom which is it’s main Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet competitor (full hardware spec of the Xoom here). Check out the full press release after the break:

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Motorola Xoom launching on February 17th

According to internal documents originating from Best Buy the much anticipated Motorola Xoom tablet, which is going to be the first Android 3.0 Honeycomb powered devices, is launching on February 17th. The first SKU is apparently packing 32GB of internal memory but there’s still no official price mentioned but it would definitely be disappointing if yesterday’s rumored $800 price turns out to be true. A full blown Slate PC like the new Asus Eee EP121 is only $300 more and has some serious power under the hood (but not so awesome battery life..). The Xoom will obviously be subsidized by carriers just like the Galaxy Tab thought so it may be best to wait a little bit to see how things settle down.

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Motorola Xoom to cost $800 and come without MotoBlur UI

Contrary to what was claimed earlier yesterday in rumor, the Motorola Xoom won’t be slapped with the useless MotoBlur UI and will thankfully be running the stock Android 3.0 / Honeycomb OS. Here’s Motorola’s official statement:

To clarify, Motorola Xoom is a Google Experience Device and the first tablet to incorporate Android 3.0 Honeycomb. As such, Motorola Mobility has worked closely with Google to develop and optimize the Honeycomb OS on Xoom, and has no plans to customize the software with MotoBlur.

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Tegra 2 powered LG Optimus 2X 1080P video sample

Ready for some interesting footage? Techblog.gr has made public one of the 1080P footage shot with the LG Optimus 2X android smartphone powered by nVidia’s Tegra 2 SoC. It doesn’t really look bad but isn’t really exceptional either but this may be due to the relatively poor camera lens or sensor. The footage has a bitrate of 9Mbps which isn’t super high but enough in this case and isolates between 23 and 24fps. You will also notice that the camera unfortunately doesn’t seem to have any continuous auto-focus when shooting videos. Check it out after the break:

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Android 3.0 Honeycomb doesn’t have a minimum Processor requirement

Another rumor bites the dust…Android 3.0 aka Honeycomb may be aimed at Tablets first but it definitely doesn’t have any minimum processor requirements according to Google. So there’s a change that the Galaxy Tab will probably be able to get an upgrade once the OS finally hits the streets in a couple of weeks / months. The Dual-Core Cortex A9 minimum specs rumor definitely sounded ridiculous given that Qualcomm isn’t going to ship it’s first A9 SoC before 2012.

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Motorola Xoom hardware specifications

Motoroa is about to officially unveil the Motorola Xoom tablet power byt nVidia’s Tegra 2 Soc and running Honeycomb. We have already seen Android 3.0 Honeycomb’s UI in action a few minutes ago and the Xoom handled by Any Rubin last monthbut what people want to know now is when is this thing going to be available. The Tegra 2 powered Motorola Atrix 4G and the yet unknown Motorola Droid Bionic also going to be outed tonight. Stay tuned for more…

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Honeycomb, Android 3.0 to require a Dual-Core Cortex-A9 CPU?

The latest rumors about Android 3.0 aka Honeycomb are now claiming that the upcoming OS will only be aimed at high-end Tablets and required a Dual-Core Cortex A9 CPU to work. According to Bobby Cha, managing director of Korean consumer electronics firm Enspert, it will also have a minimum screen resolution requirement of 1024×720 and “Honeycomb does not require 10-inch [screens] … it’s going to go as small as 7 inch.” This sound like BS to me because if this is indeed the case then Google will basically have 2 Android versions on the market: One for high-end tablets (because the Galaxy Tab only has a Single core Cortex-A8) and one for smartphones (what’s next after Android 2.3 ?). Now let’s image that Honeycomb is also smartphone compatible but has that Dual-Core Cortex A9 requirement: it will not work on any of the upcoming Dual-Core Quacomm based handsets scheduled to be released in the next 14 months (Qualcomm’s current Dual-Core SoCs are all Cortex A8 based and their first A9 architecture isn’t scheduled to start shipping in devices before 2012). I guess that we will know the whole story soon enough with the imminent launch announcement of the Motorola Tablets this week at CES.

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Motorola Honeycomb Android 3.0 tablet teased in video. Launching at CES

Let the Marketing war begin! Motorola has just released a short teaser video for the upcoming Tegra 2 powered  Android 3.0 / Honeycomb tablet that we saw in live action a couple of days ago. There’s nothing  new to see in there, just a confirmation that tablet are now the big thing to talk about if a company wants to generate buzz. Microsoft is surely lacking in this department thought…Video after the break:

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LG Optimus 2X Dual-Core Tegra 2 powered Android handset officially launched

LG has officially unveiled and launched the LG Optimus 2X (also know as the LG Star) today in Seoul. The Optimus 2X is the first commercially available smartphone to feature an nVidia Tegra 2 chipset which includes a Dual-Core Cortex A9 CPU coupled with a higher clocked GPU similar to the one found in the original Tegra. The device has a 4″ WVGA LCD screen, 8GB of internal memory (expandable via the micro-sd slot), an 8 MPix camera, 1.3Mpix front facing camera, HDMI out and the ability to encode/decode 1080P videos. It will first ship with Android 2.2 but will be receive an Android 2.3 / Gingerbread update in the future. Check out the LG Optimus 2X specifications and press release after the break:

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