Nvidia has released a new graphics demo that the firm believes showcases the capabilities of its upcoming quad-core Tegra chip codenamed Kal-el.
The quad-core chip was first demonstrated at Mobile World Congress (MWC) back in February as a showcase for Nvidia's next-generation technology. At that time Nvidia did not allow journalists to play with the tablet that housed the Kal-el chip, but the firm was looping a game demo to show off its impressive power.
Now Nvidia has shown off a new demo named Glowball running on Android Honeycomb that it says highlights the dynamic lighting capabilities of Kal-el. While the demo may lack the cut and thrust action of a game scene, dynamic lighting is a significant draw on chip resources. Something that was apparent when Nvidia showed how the demo would falter if running on a dual-core Tegra chip.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Nvidia's Glowball demonstration is that the four Kal-el cores were not maxed out at any point in the demo. It bodes well for games developers who are looking at tablets based on Apple's IOS and Google's Android operating system as the next big gaming consoles.
Back at MWC, Matt Wuebbling, senior product manager for Nvidia's notebook products, told V3.co.uk that "tablets are an interesting avenue for high-end technology". At the time, Wuebbling said that Kal-el was still a "technology preview" but added that developer devices were expected by August 2011.
Wuebbling said Nvidia's Kal-el chip will feature 12 GPU cores, adding that it is likely the firm will use TSMC to fabricate Kal-el chips, but that no final decision had been made.
The Glowball demo showcases just how far gaming has come on portable devices. Nvidia, by using its considerable history in producing gaming oriented graphics chips, has shown that consumers can expect tablets to become fully fledged portable gaming consoles when kitted out with multi-core chips.
What's more, Wuebbling told V3.co.uk that Kal-el can support numerous operating systems aside from Google's Android, including Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.
Nvidia's Kal-el chip should give Nintendo and Sony cause for concern as it tries to fight against casual gamers who prefer smartphones and tablets to dedicated games consoles.
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