09
Aug
tegra-tab

The Nexus 7 2013 is awesome in just about every way, building on the strengths of the original to become an easy choice for the best 7" Android tablet on the market at the moment. But there's at least one company that isn't altogether happy with it: NVIDIA. Their Tegra 3 chip powered the first Nexus 7, but Google switched to Qualcomm for the new version... a decision which hasn't come without problems of its own. In any case, new leaked photos show that NVIDIA may intend to strike out with a self-branded 7-inch tablet.

tegra-tab

Chinese gadget site Webtrek posted two convincing photos of the "Tegra Tab," which appears to be an NVIDIA-branded tablet on the smaller side. Freed from the designers at Google and ASUS, someone at NVIDIA went to town on this one. While it includes a lot of the elements of the original N7 like a stippled plastic back and a 7-inch screen, there's also a rear camera (reportedly 5MP), mini-HDMI port, and even a stylus bay. Recall that NVIDIA has already shown off some advanced stylus integration with the Tegra 4 chipset. The source claims that the plastic tab next to the camera might be a SIM card slot, which would indicate that this tablet is using the Tegra 4i, a cheaper, less-powerful version of the T4 with an integrated LTE radio. (It could also be a power button, but there appears to be one on the top edge of the tablet already - see above photo.)

tegra-tab-2

The Verge speculates that Chinese manufacturer Shenzhen Homecare Technology is a pretty good bet for a possible manufacturing partner. The firm recently stated that it was building a "Tegra 4 tablet with a stylus," and meetings with NVIDIA executives have been posted to the company's website. One photo shows an NVIDIA executive with a whiteboard including the words "Nexus 7," but that doesn't mean a whole lot on its own. More telling is the fact that NVIDIA has registered a trademark for "Tegra Tab" with the USPTO.

Of course, this could all be so much chasing after the wind. The photos are indeed convincing, but even assuming that they're real, the Tegra Tab could be an internal developer-focused project or even a Windows RT device. (Yesterday NVIDIA stated that they'd be supplying the internals for Microsoft's second Surface Windows RT tablet.) And though NVIDIA has shown a willingness to enter the consumer hardware world with the SHIELD gaming device, a conventional tablet running either OS would directly compete with some of the company's OEM partners. ASUS, Toshiba, HP, and others have already announced Tegra 4-based tablets.

NVIDIA has declined to comment on the photos, surprising no one.

Source: Webtrek via The Verge

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • http://us.playstation.com/ps4 Mark Cerny

    I doubt it's for consumers. Looks more like a dev unit.

  • Chris Martinelli

    This is an Nvidia branded tablet , made to try and get their chips out there, because OEM's dont want to deal with them anymore. Even though they have a great chip on paper with the T4, they aren't getting any major design wins with it. They would be better served trying to determine why no-one wants to deal with them than making their own branded products. Good luck Nvidia.

    • Michael Pahl

      the sad part is most of the Tegra 3 hate was due to no trim support/crappy storage on the original Nexus 7... had nothing to do with the Tegra 3.

      • Paul_Werner

        Just a question here, not trying to say you are wrong in any way but, if the N7 2012 didn't have trim support then how would that have been added with the 4.3 update? Was it because Google just implemented what Nvidia decided to not support when it was first released?

        • PhoenixPath

          You may just be confusing hardware support with software (OS level) support...

        • Michael Pahl

          I didn't mean the Tegra 3 did not have trim support... i meant Android 4.2.X did not have trim support.
          Old Nexus 7's will see boost in speed due to 4.3 update.

          • Rauel Crespo

            4.3 Helped my Nexus 7 tremendously...was going to get the New Nexus 7, but the update fixed the lagginess enough for me to hold out a tad longer....perhaps a Tegra Tab is in my future?

          • Michael Pahl

            are you 100% stock?

          • Rauel Crespo

            Yes.

          • Michael Pahl

            Then you are missing out! try a little CM/Crossbreeder/Custom kernel

        • Renaud Lepage

          TRIM is normally implemented hardware-level, or, if you prefer, in the memory chips that make up the 16gb of flash memory.

      • Sean Lumly

        Well said, and very true. My not-that-much-of-a-complaint with the Tegra 3 was its rendering performance on some games. While it played most games very well, the more challenging ones (eg. Nova 3) juddered too much to be fun. But the SoC works quite well in 98% of scenarios I've used it in.

      • Dart

        This x 100. I've always been happy with the Tegra 3 in my Nexus 7.

        It got a lot of hate, sadly. I'm glad that Android 4.3 has improved a lot of people's perspectives on it.

      • deltatux

        You obviously haven't tried other Tegra 3 tablets have you? Tegra 3 was laggy as hell and my ASUS Transformer Pad Prime is no exception to that lag. Even with TRIM enabled, Tegra 3 still struggled when multitasking. I hope NVIDIA fixed that problem with Tegra 4i and I sure hope they did that for the regular Tegra 4 (if they didn't, now that would be really sad).

  • h_f_m

    Why does "Shenzhen Homecare Technology" make me feel like this tablet will be popular with seniors..

  • A.Noid

    There is several major OEM's buying them. HP, for one, with their new Tegra 4 transformer clone, and Asus with their new Transformer Infinity, both come to mind. I hear the Asus is coming out this fall.

  • fonix232

    I highly doubt this is an actual design from Nvidia. They would use the Tegra trademark in an official way, plus the exterior, while we only see the back of the tablet, is too much "chinese". Yes, I get it, Shenzhen Homecare Technology is the manufacturer, but still, if Nvidia was to release their own, I think they would go with a much leaner, simpler design.

  • VoiceofSky

    That sucker looks ugly ..amirite?

    • Sorian

      Early leak pictures of just the back, too early to tell.

  • william harrison

    I don't think that those are buttons at all but plugs. It appears as though there's a slight recession on both sides of the left.

  • william harrison

    I think it's a full sized SD card slot on left and sim on right.

  • Mandeep Singh

    PricE it 200 $ and make it available worldwide and we have got a deal nvidia

    • Justin W

      I doubt that will happen. I'm guessing they'll market it at $299 as a "gaming tablet" and it will have some of Shield's functionality (hopefully). It looks like a slick tablet though.

  • BradleyGogats

    Probably a Nexus 7 reference deseign that Google turned down

    • Mike Reid

      Yep, one of the losing proposals for the new Nexus 7.

      Original Nexus 7 was going to be an Asus product and had an Asus model # until Google decided they wanted it.

  • Sean Lumly

    YES! Nvidia gets it. The resolution, while nice for reading fine text, kills game performance. I own the Nexus 7 and 10 (and 4), and while the resolution on the 10 is better, I don't really miss it on the 7. The problem with the Nexus 10 is that the performance is killed in challenging games while trying to drive all of those pixels. Many games work quite well (with lower effects) but there are many still that suffer from the framerate.

    With a Tegra 4, this tablet will simply mop the floor with the competition in real-world game performance. If you take a look at the very challenging GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex, the Tegra 4 does slightly better than the Snapdragon 800 offscreen 1080p by around 1fps, but onscreen at 720p, it clobbers the competition with an insane 39fps. Most Snapdragon 800 devices (and SoCs in general) will be rendering to needlessly high-res 1080p screens, and getting roughly half the fps.

    .. and this is a very shader/geometry laden bench. The effect should be much more pronounced with much less demanding games.

    I bet that the Tegra 4 will be remembered as a superlative performer because it is so far tied to devices with *reasonable* resolutions, while the rest will be pushing 2x or even 4x the pixels. Both this and the shield should be at-least doubling the framerate of nearly any or all of the competition.

    And with great game-developer relations, and Tegra targeted games, expect some standout games to look far better on Nvidia devices than other Android devices. This is another good move for Nvidia establishing its leadership for Android gaming.

    • Matthew Fry

      I've never actually had performance issues on my Nexus 10. Granted, I don't do a whole lot of intense 3D gaming (mostly Humble Bundle and 2D platformers and the like).

    • PhineasJW

      More likely, Tegra 4 won't be remembered at all.

      We're less than half a year away from Tegra 5, and Tegra 4 literally has zero substantive design wins. It couldn't even win the Nexus 7 business. Not to mention mobile phones, where they missed the entire year.

      Unless Nvidia has some magic up their sleeves, they're in danger of being the next to exit the ARM race.

      What they should have done was focus on the GPU side, where they excel, and license that technology to compete directly with the Adreno / Mali offerings.

      • renz

        well they enter into SoC business because they can't 100% rely on their gpu business all the time especially when the low end discrete gpu are being threaten by the likes of AMD APU gpu performance. even their tesla business is being challenge right now by intel Xeon Phi (right now the fastest super computer were powered by intel Xeon Phi).

        the problem of tegra 4 is the chip was purposely delayed by nvidia so they can speed up their software based modem integration into tegra. device based on T4 should coming out in Q1 or Q2 this year not Q3. to be honest i was surprised when nvidia was quiet about Tegra 4 in Q3-Q4 2012.

        but for sure i don't think nvidia will give up easily on Tegra.

  • Stephonz

    I'm not even going to buy any f this gadgets until these companies decides to integrate Windows RT and Android boot together. Or just rolling out LAPTOPS with dual boot..

  • Matthew Fry

    7" tablet with a stylus? Yes please.

  • deltatux

    If it's affordable and modder friendly, I might buy one.