18
Sep
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Last year, NVIDIA announced a then-groundbreaking tablet design called Kai. It was essentially a reference – a blueprint, if you will – for manufacturers to design and build extremely affordable tablets. The plan was clearly laid out, but the platform itself was incredibly flexible so the manufacturing costs and retail pricing could fluctuate as much as the design of the tablets themselves. Google's 2012 Nexus 7 was just one of the tablets that took advantage of Kai.

Now, NVIDIA is taking Kai a step further. The new project is even more encompassing that before. It's called Tegra Note, and it could change the game. Again.

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Tegra Note is more than just a blueprint for an affordable tablet. It is the groundwork – both in hardware and software – for powerful and versatile devices that won't break the bank. Naturally, it uses NVIDIA's Tegra 4 processor as its workhorse; pair that with DirectStylus support, PureAudio sound, an excellent camera (based on NVIDIA's computational photography engine, no doubt), and more game support than you can shake a stick at, and you have the beginning of what Tegra Note is all about.

But it's still more – NVIDIA will also be controlling the OTA updates. Tegra Note is the full package: a hardware layout planned by NVIDIA, alongside OTA updates directly from the company that designed the entire thing. The only thing left for manufacturers to do is put it all together and release it however they see fit.

Like Kai, Note is all about affordability. The suggested MSRP for baseline Note devices is set a $199, which could put a lot of tablets in a lot of hands. There's a good chance we've already seen the first Tegra Note-based device floating around here and there, but it's unclear who the manufacturer is at this time. We now know it likely won't be NVIDIA, as Tegra Note is a platform, not an actual device.

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In NVIDIA's blog post about Tegra Note, the company outlines what we can expect from Note-based devices once they're available, and it sounds very promising:

  • Blazing performance from Tegra 4.
  • Excellent stylus support thanks to DirectStylus.
  • An enhanced audio experience thanks to NVIDIA's PureAudio technology.
  • A "groundbreaking" camera that utilizes the Tegra 4's power and the computational photography engine.
  • TegraZone games, because it wouldn't be NVIDIA without fun.
  • 10+ hours of HD video playback.
  • A slew of accessories, including a smart cover, a DirectStylus Pro Pack with interchangeable tips, and the ability to transform the tablet into a game controller.

Full specs:

  • Processor - Tegra 4 mobile processor with quad-core Cortex-A15 CPU and 72-core GeForce GPU
  • Display - 7-inch HD IPS LCD display (1280 x 800)
  • Camera - Rear 5MP and front VGA webcam
  • Storage - 16GB storage with microSD expandable up to an additional 32GB
  • Audio - Front-facing “HD Audio” stereo speakers with a unique bass-reflex port
  • Stylus - Chisel and Brush tips for natural writing and broad strokes
  • Peripherals - Micro HDMI connector to drive big screen TV videos and gaming
  • OS - 100% Android with latest version of the OS
  • Software Updates - Over-the-air software updates directly from NVIDIA
  • Battery Life - 10 hours HD video playback

NVIDIA is expecting Tegra Note devices to show up from a variety of manufacturers in the coming months, including "EVGA and PNY Technologies in North America; EVGA, Oysters, and ZOTAC in Europe; Colorful, Shenzhen Homecare Technology and ZOTAC in Asia-Pacific; and XOLO in India." As you can see, Note is already bringing some new names to the game.

Expect more information on Tegra Note, as well as upcoming Tegra Note devices, to surface in the coming weeks (perhaps even sooner). As always, keep it locked on AP for all the details.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Anthony Evans

    good bye nexus 2013 hello tegra note

  • martijnve

    "An enhanced audio experience thanks to NVIDIA's PureAudio technology" tegras used to be famous for their horrible audio quality, did they actually improve in this area or is this another crappy equaliser setting?

  • Neolawliet

    I'm going to stay away from Tegra after being bitten twice.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Twice?

      • Lukasz

        Tegra 2 and Tegra 3, I suppose.

      • DarkStarr

        Yea Nvidia drops support like crazy even on hardware that can run it just fine. The G2x was like that and I decided absolutely no phones with Tegra after that crap.

        • guest1110

          G2x isn't being supported by NV because, it's made by LG. that's LG who's suppose to support it, not NV!

          • DarkStarr

            It had a Tegra 2 chip that Nvidia HAS to make drivers for. No drivers = no support. Get it?

        • Eric James Salcido

          Honestly that was up to LG, not Nvidia. The Nexus 7 was relatively well kept up to date by Google, it wasn't because Nvidia was giving them special treatment or anything.

          • DarkStarr

            Sorry but it isn't. Nvidia didn't release a driver for ICS for the chip. How can LG support hardware that has no driver, THEY CAN'T.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

    Maybe it's bad, but I get a little excited every time I see the promise of a stylus that could become a standardized component in Android. Since no company seems capable (or willing?) to license Wacom's stylus technology from Samsung (or Wacom?), I suppose this makes me optimistic for DirectStylus to take off.

    Since price for the stylus will surely be above the baseline $199 price tag, I'm sure it'll be higher; but huge bonus points if the price point doesn't go so high as to be a deal breaker. If quality is good, and particularly if the drivers and API are moderately open, that could make this a very compelling alternative to Samsung's current offering.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Couldn't agree more.

    • zanzee

      The samsung note series uses wacom's stylus and touch tech.

    • Tim Glaser

      I also want stylus support, meaningful stylus support to become a thing, however, the stylus + reasonable amounts of ram + not sucky screen resolution + cellular radio are going to be available in devices costing way more than the $199 promised here.

      This is basically the stripper model, where you can techically produce a device like this, but no one will want it. The one that everyone is going to want is going to be 299 - 349.

      Also, remains to be seen if a Tegra platform can actually be good. I'm not completely convinced.

    • EH101

      Make it $300 with the stylus and 1080p and I'll take this over Nexus 7 any day. Oh, and better quality control than the N7 also, please.

  • http://androidapps.hu/ Durst Dezső

    ummm....what about the size? and also, the referenced NVidia blog link gives a saaaad 404 :(

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      7-inch 1280x800 display. Also, the link to the blog is now fixed!

      • http://androidapps.hu/ Durst Dezső

        Thanks for the info! :)

  • sri_tech

    As per anandtech.com it has 1GB RAM.

    1200x800 display is OK but 1GB RAM is a non-starter.

    • chicken dance

      come on, 1gb is enough for most cases. my galaxy s2 is running just fine with 1gb of ram(760MB usable). but if they could increase it to at least 1.5gb it would be great.

      • Sam Hollis

        1GB is awful. On some pages(esp with multiple tabs) on my Galaxy Nexus the keyboard won't come up(or, if it does, it won't stay up) because the garbage collector kills the process as soon as it starts.

        • nwd1911

          Is that what is happening with the keyboard open, no wait...is it? fail. Not many things make me want to throw my phone, but this is number 1 on that list. Any work-around (sans a new device)?

          • Sam Hollis

            You can go into Dev options and limit background processes. Not ideal though. It may delay the arrival of some notifications because their listener process was axed.

          • Sam Hollis

            Derp

          • nwd1911

            I'm not a developer or someone with any real technical skills, just an Android enthusiast who enjoys learning. I've been meaning to search XDA, but haven't had a chance so I replied to your comment. Cheers.

          • chicken dance

            install pimp my rom and then lock the keyboard app in memory.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      Devices with 1 GB of RAM victimized consumers for years. We must stamp out this plague on our society! #neveragain

      Seriously though, if that is accurate, it's probably the baseline option. I bet it would only cost manufacturers a few bucks to bump that up to 2 GB. The display will be the same way. There's no way the screen resolution won't have better options considering how much nVidia is hyping the graphic capabilities of the Tegra 4.

      • Albin Hermansson

        As a person who still uses 512 MB RAM (340 free) it sounds like a dream... But yeah i agree, 1 GB isn't enough.

        • Karthik Kumar

          512MB and 340 FREE?? Please do share which phone/tablet and OS (of course it's Android, I mean which ROM. Cyanogenmod/AOKP/Paranoid etc etc)

        • Nathan Blume

          Are you still using a Samsung Fascinate? I've got one running AOKP 4.1.2 that is still hanging on.

          • Albin Hermansson

            Nah, it's an Xperia Arc S. Though i used to have a Galaxy S, too.

    • Albin Hermansson

      EDIT: Ignore

  • Cherokee4Life

    I got sooo excited until I saw :
    Display - 7-inch HD IPS LCD display (1280 x 800)

    Was hoping that this would replace my Asus Infinity but I guess not :(

  • spydie

    I can't believe nobody has even mentioned that the "Note" name is already taken by Samsung. Why in hell would a company even consider using that name? I hope Samsung sues the pants off Nvidia. On top of that, while others on this blog are complaining about 1 GB of RAM in this new "note", (I didn't see that in your specs) my new Note 3 phone as 3 gb of RAM... you can't build a quality gaming platform with 1 gb of RAM in this day and age. And a 5MP camera (no matter what software you hook it to) is substandard in this day and age when phones have 13-41 MP cameras

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      -_______________________-

  • unsivilaudio

    Somebody correct me if this is wrong, but you can't buy this Tablet. You guys are assuming this is for public consumption, it is not. The $199 price tag is a reference for manufacturers of where their end-user product should fall in pricing.

    Two things this thing is in need of though;
    1) Higher resolution screen, I mean come on, 1920x1080
    2) More ram will help, 1GB just isn't enough due to Android's failure to manage resources more efficiently.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      The tablet design was created by NVIDIA, but the devices will be put on the market by OEMs. So yes, you will be able to buy Tegra Note tablets, they just may not be called "Tegra Note" exactly.

  • deltatux

    I don't like those front side speakers, makes the tablet excessively elongated on one end, horrible to hold in portrait when you want to do things like reading a book. I do understand that this is a reference device but still...

  • Mapekz

    GPU vendors are going to make the tablet? Goddamn. Maybe the EVGA version comes with a free voucher for Infinity Blade for Android.

    • Matthew Fry

      And a hot 3D rendered chick on the back and TWIN VORTEX FANS.

  • jesuguru

    Hopefully the stylus will be built-in, like Samsung's Note series, otherwise I'd lose it and not bother replacing it.

  • TechGuy22

    nexus 7 still better. every year android OEMs release crap tablets. nexus tab are still the best.

  • Asphyx

    nVidia seems to be trying to duplicate with the Tegra series what they did with their Video Cards. Create a reference design that is centered around a chip they produce, Control the software that controls that hardware and make their money on Licences as opposed to the consumer itself.
    Which is probably why I see some comments on them dropping support too quickly for their liking.
    We all have lived the world where you had to upgrade the Video Card in your desktop every 6 months to keep up with the new games that required it.
    We will see similar things if nVidia succeeds with this in the tablet market.

    • renz

      upgrading gpu every 6 months? very few game actually push the gpu to the limit. maybe 90% of the game out there still being held back by console making even mid range gpu perform like high end gpu. for example take SR IV. it's new but does it need crazy gpu to run the game?

      also on dekstop side nvidia support their gpu much longer than amd did with their gpu

      • Asphyx

        Well I would totally disagree with that statement...
        Most of the time a new Game came out it needed the Next generation Video Card in order to see it in all of it's glory.
        The Major force driving desktop upgrades over the last 10 years has been the AAA Games that had such high Graphic spec requirements you had to upgrade to the latest with two gazilion pixel shaders as opposed to the one you have that has only one gazillion pixel shaders.

        Now it may have slowed down a bit but not because the of nVidia's support of their hardware but because the gaming Consoles haven't caught up to what the desktop GPUs can do yet and won't until he next gen consoles are widely available. The Game companies have no reason to push graphics that can't possibly play on their majority target audience (consoles) But as soon as the consoles leapfrog the desktops again be prepared to upgrade again to play something like Crysis 10 when it comes out.

        • renz

          does 90% of the game out there have crazy requirement to run like Crysis 3? true games like crysis 3 make hardware maker like nvidia or amd have a reason to push their new card but the fact still remain about majority of the game did not push gpu to the level crysis 3 did. in fact the gpu has too much power which leads to things like eyefinity (or nvidia surround) so people have a reason to get high end gpu.

          also did you imply that nvidia have can support their older dekstop gpu much longer because of console holding them back? personally i don't think so. until earlier this year nvidia still support their 6k and 7k series. some of those card are much weaker than gpu inside PS3 and 360 but does it holding nvidia to give official support to those card with every driver release?

  • M

    The front facing speakers may have sold me on this one over the new Nexus 7