Nvidia: Tegra 2 Will Usher In The 'Super Phone' Era


Nvidia introduced its Tegra 2 mobile processor at last year's CES and showed the product powering a number of new tablet devices. At this year's show, Nvidia demonstrated the product on a new device the company affectionately refers to as a "super phone."

While the second generation of Tegra may be last year's news, Nvidia showed off the mobile platform running LG Electronics' new Optimus 2X smartphone at Nvidia's CES press conference Wednesday. Nvidia President and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang called the Optimus 2X "the industry's first Super Phone," describing the new product category as the next generation of smartphones, which will be as powerful and feature-rich as PCs.

As described by Nvidia, a super phone includes four-inch-plus screens, single-core, 1-GHz mobile processors, five-plus megapixels cameras, and multiple microphones for video and gaming experiences. In essence, Huang said, a super phone will be "a computer first and a phone second," and touted the Tegra 2 chip as the platform of choice for the new product category.

For example, Huang demonstrated the Optimus 2X's full 1080p HD video playback support (the new phone even has an HDMI connection). The new LG phone, which runs on Google's Android OS, also comes with enough performance to handle console-quality gaming. Huang demonstrated several games on an Optimus 2X, including the popular mobile game Angry Birds and Dungeon Defenders, an upcoming PC/console game that can run on Tegra 2 super phones as well.

Huang also said the Tegra 2 platform offers fast overall Web performance. The dual-core chip, based on ARM's Cortex-A9, offers five times faster Flash performance than other mobile chips, thanks to Nvidia's close partnership with Adobe, Huang said. At one point during the press conference, Huang was joined on stage by Adobe President and CEO Shantanu Narayen, who voiced his support for Tegra 2 and said that Flash-based content continues to grow rapidly, doubling in the last two year's despite the absence of support on other platforms like Apple's iOS.

While Tegra 2 was promoted by Nvidia at last year's show as a major tablet platform, it's clear the graphics technology company, which has been moving more and more into the CPU market, has big plans to leverage the monster growth seen in the smartphone industry.