CES 2011 was an occasion for manufacturers to flood the market with a plethora of Android devices, and powering many of them was NVidia's Tegra 2 chip.

Released late last year, the Tegra 2 chip uses the "system-on-a-chip" design to integrate an ARM CPU (1GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 processor) and a NVidia GPU into one package. This allows faster communication between the cores and the integrated memory controller. Most of the tablets and smartphones, and other unique hybrids, launching in 2011 will be using the Tegra 2 chips.

But, no sooner has the dust settled and NVidia is already planning for the future.  A leaked slide from NVidia reveals that the Tegra 2 will soon be replaced by the Tegra 2 3D, which will subsequently be usurped by the "world's first mobile quad-core processor," the Tegra 3.

Nvidia Tegra 2011 roadmap

The Tegra 2 3D bumps the speed of the integrated ARM processor to 1.2GHz and adds mobile 3D support. If manufacturers start integrating the Tegra 2 3D into their devices, your smartphone and tablet will have 3D displays that will not require any glasses (like the Nintendo 3DS).

Aside from the introduction of mobile 3D displays, the Tegra 2 3D is merely a power boost. In contrast, the Tegra 3, launching in Fall 2011, will be a completely new revolution in mobile processors. The T30 Tegra 3 chip, made for tablets, will integrate four 1.5GHz Cortex-A9 processors and a 3x faster GPU that will be able to support Blu-ray video and displays with up to 1920x1200 pixel resolution. The slide also indicates that the T30 will feature an "ULP CPU mode"; this is nVidia's Ultra Low Power mode - probably a form of idle core deactivation. The T30's little brother for smartphones, the AP30, will come with quad or dual-core options and will have a GPU that will support displays of up to a 1366x768 pixel resolution.

I was considering jumping on the bandwagon and picking up the Motorola XOOM, but now I am contemplating waiting till 2012 for Tegra 3 powered tablets!

Credit: Bright Side of News via Engadget

Abhiroop Basu
Abhiroop Basu is an opinionated tech and digital media blogger. As a doe-eyed twenty-something he started his first blog TechComet to comment on anything tech-related that caught his omniscient eye. Since then he has blogged for Android Police, Make Tech Easier, and This Green Machine. In the real world, Abhiroop Basu is a resident of Singapore and the Editor of The Digit, a subsidiary of The Potato Productions Group.

  • Nathan

    it may be awesome and all, but the real question remains. Can it play Crysis? if so, then we can start saying it'll make PC's obsolete.

  • Brandito

    system on a chip won't make PCs obsolete.

    people who need the power of a desktop will still buy one, pc gamers who want the ability to upgrade their components as they see fit will still be buying a pc.

    i think pc desktop sales will continue to decline as the average joe doesn't need a desktop, nor discrete graphics, but the components to build a pc will survive for a very long time.

    • http://www.christiantechsaz.com Aaron

      Agreed, while I don't game anymore on the pc (too costly), it would replace my laptop completely. :-)

      • Brandito

        too costly? you can buy a video card that will play pretty much any game out there with graphics set to the highest settings at above HD resolution for under 200 bucks. the rest of the system could be the run of the mill desktop bought within the last 2-3 years.

        but yeah, even my laptop sits on a desk full time, of course it's 4-5 years old and the battery only lasts 45 minutes maybe.

  • SiliconAddict

    I was hearing the same thing said about laptops, and desktops are still here, I heard the same thing about netbooks, and laptops are still here. Now I'm hearing the same thing about tablets. Guess what? Nothing will change. Nothing more then a bunch of hyperbole, designed to generate buzz. This will not kill the PC. Nothing is going to kill the PC because there will always be a need for a desktop or a laptop system that has serious performance. Small devices will always be limited because of size.

    • MeatRocket

      I tend to agree with SiliconAddict. I'd love for my phone to replace my PC and laptop, but I just don't see it happening. Those that disagree, don't forget we STILL use mini-computers & mainframes all over the place.

      With that said, I definitely have seen a reduction in the use of my PC & laptop as my smartphone has gotten more powerful.

  • Elvis


  • Lucian Armasu

    You do realize that by the time a Tegra 3 tablet will be launched, the Tegra 4 specs will leak, too, don't you? Given the current evolution of the Tegra line-up, I'd say Tegra 4 will have an 8-core Cortex A15 at 2 Ghz chip. That's because Cortex A9 doesn't support more than 4 cores, so it needs to be A15.
    Also considering that Cortex A15 has 3 MIPS/Mhz compared to Cortex A9 which has 2.5, then Tegra 4 should have about 8x3x2000 = 48,000 MIPS (Tegra 3 has 14000).
    So do you still think you'll be buying a Tegra 3 tablet after you'll see these specs for Tegra 4? I'm just warning you so you don't waste a year for nothing :).

    • khsharpe

      the joys and the miseries of having techie toy fetish ...
      enough to make buddhists of us all?

      anticipate the future but live the emoment?
      : -)

      • Hal Motley

        I personally like the concept that my tablet would have twice the cores of my iMac's Intel i7 CPU!

        Still I think it will be time so to replace my tablet and get a more powerful one!


      the tegra 4 has 4 cores becuase the a15 has a max support of 4 cores. the tegra 5 is also 4 cores but it will use x86 cores, to deliver more processing power

  • TH

    By the time Tegra 3's GPU is capable of rendering what our desktop can render TODAY, desktop's GPU will have far better capabilities than Tegra 3.
    And that, is a fact...

    • apollostees

      I say where the change will happen is with the mainstream. As far as they're concerend many have already switched to using laptops.

  • abeee

    I anticipate, when when my 2 yr contract ends on my Evo, that I will upgrade to a Tegra 3 phone in summer 2012 :-)

  • Todd

    Late to the party, but between my phone, a tablet, and a netbook I've had no reason to fire up my old pc tower, personally. I will probably just send it on its way within the next yearand I certainly won't miss the rat's nest of wires protruding from it

  • DannyS

    Its 2012 and hands down all the people, who aren't the average joe, know that Desktop PCs is where its at as far as sheer power, customizabilitly, and OS flexibility. Can you hardcore game on a smartphone? NO! can you hardcore game on tablets comfortably with high settings?(60+FPS/1920x1080+/Full x8+ Antialias/etc.) NO! Can you customize any mobile device as you can a PC? NO! The only major competition is Laptops which can come close to hardcore gaming and the fact that its mobile. The Systems race has been won ages ago by the PC. If the average joe was actually more intelligent, they could see that PC is where the power and flexability is. But its all about mobility and having things at your fingertips when and WHERE you want it. This is the ONLY downside that PCs can not meet the demand for. As far as gaming goes though, PC has and always will win in the "console race". As every game is developed on a PC, the XBOX/PS3/Wii can not compete with the graphics/speed/and flexibility of a PC.
    PC is not going to be obsolete any time soon.
    PC wins hands down.
    End of story.

  • Alexander Gee

    I come from the future to say. HAhhahahaha