NVIDIA has been the talk of Barcelona for the past couple of days. Many of the premier devices announced at Mobile World Congress, such as the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the LG Optimus Pad, have been packing the new dual-core Tegra 2 chipset. Hot on the heels of these hardware announcements, NVIDIA just revealed the quad-core successor of the Tegra 2 to the world (which may or may not end up being called Tegra 3).
Dubbed "Project Kal-El", this mean little chipset is said to bring five times the processing power of the Tegra 2. In addition to the 4 CPU cores, Kal-El includes not 1 and not even 4, but 12 (!) GPU cores. Not too shabby, wouldn't you say?
To flex that muscle, the folks at NVIDIA streamed 1440p video on both a tablet and a connected 30 inch, 2560 x 1600 monitor, which Kal-El handled flawlessly. They also demonstrated the browsing and gaming capabilities of the processor to the press, and trust me, you want this in your next device. Luckily, you won't have to wait too long - the first super-tablets powered by Kal-El are slated for an August 2011 release, followed by phones by Christmas of the same year.
Update: Android Central has a nice video on Kal-El:
The Kryptonian beauty wasn't the only product NVIDIA announced - in fact, the company has unveiled a full roadmap for the Tegra series all the way to 2014. As you can see, NVIDIA is not planning on slowing down for a second. In keeping with the heroic theme, the three chipsets to follow Kal-El are named "Wayne," "Logan," and "Stark." One processor will be released each year from 2012 to 2014 and, according to their press release, "Stark" is going to be almost 75 times faster than the Tegra 2. That alone makes me take the Singularity a little more seriously.
While the news is very exciting, it does beg the question: what is to become of the Tegra 2? Virtually no devices using the dual-core CPU are available to the public yet. If we are to see hardware that outperforms it by August of this year, are people going to want to spend their money on a phone with prematurely "obsolete" technology? It's unlikely that you would easily notice the difference between a dual-core and a quad-core processor in daily use, but consumers want to make sure they buy a device that will stand the test of time.
Either way, it is a great time to be interested in mobile, and I anxiously await my first true super-phone. Who knows, by then, it may just be running Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly of some sort...