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Nvidia Aims Tegra 2 At Tablet PCs

Nvidia has launched its next-generation Tegra platform, which is designed for high-resolution tablet computers, smartphones, and smartbooks.

Tegra 2 was unveiled Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, demonstrating the platform running tablets from NotionInk, ICD, Compal, MSI, and Foxconn. Tegra 2 comprises a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU running up to 1 GHz and graphics processors

The platform is capable of streaming 1080p high-definition video and provides acceleration for better video quality through Adobe Flash Player 10.1. Nvidia claims Tegra 2 can deliver "days of battery life."

Key to the platform's capabilities are eight independent processors used together or independently, depending on the workload, to optimize power usage, the company said. The product delivers more than 16 hours of HD video or 140 hours of music on a single charge.

Tegra 2 can deliver screen resolutions from four-to-eight times that of smartphones, and can power mobile computers with screen sizes ranging from five to 15 inches. The platform is 10 times faster than processors used in smartphones today, and delivers up to four times the performance of the previous Tegra processor, Nvidia said.

The company has released an updated developer kit to help in the building of applications for Tegra-powered devices, which could include smartbooks and smartphones, as well as tablets.

ARM processors dominate the market for handheld computer devices smaller than netbooks, mini-laptops that typically use Intel's Atom processor. ARM chipmakers could face tougher competition this year when Intel releases its Moorestown platform for smartphones.

Moorestown comprises a system-on-chip, code-named Lincroft, that integrates a 45-nanometer Atom, a graphics processor, video, and memory controller; and an I/O hub, code-named Langwell. The platform will be accompanied by Intel's Moblin operating system, which handles voice calls.