An analyst over at Barron’s believes that NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 will be the ‘reference design’ for Google’s upcoming tablet-optimized version of Android, dubbed Honeycomb. While this isn’t necessarily confirmed by Google, it’s believable enough.
The Tegra 2 chipset sports the dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor and boasts the kind of graphical processing power that only NVIDIA’s experience in the gaming space can provide. The Tegra 2 is pure gold. It outperforms even the highest-end single-core chips on market today, and does it with lower power draw. It makes sense that Google would use Tegra 2 as it’s “reference design” for Android Honeycomb. But does that mean Google will require Tegra 2 for all Honeycomb devices? Likely not.
While it’s not in stone, we have every reason to believe that Motorola’s upcoming Android Honeycomb tablet will be rocking Tegra2 innards. The Motorola tablet seems to be following in the footsteps left by the original Google Nexus One, as Google is bringing top-notch hardware to the market in an effort to define the minimum standard for Android tablets going forward. Like the Nexus One, it’s as if Google is saying, “Hey, tablet makers, step it up a notch,” hoping they will follow suit.
But, with Texas Instruments’ recent announcement of their new dual-core cpu (1.5GHz each core), NVIDIA won’t be the only game in town. With multiple dual-core options on the horizon, I believe Google will steer clear of hardware requirements, and will instead provide minimum hardware specs. Microsoft did the same thing with Windows Phone 7 requiring at least a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor in their smartphones, and the result was a launch portfolio that runs mostly on the same silicon.
I recently bought a ViewSonic G Tablet, which ships with the Tegra 2 (and a horrible UI you’ll want to replace immediately), and it performs like a champ. The performance advantages of a dual-core CPU are the reason you’ll soon see more and more tablets will begin shipping with the Tegra 2 chipset. I’d thank the Tegra 2 before anything else for the tablet’s great performance.
That said, NVIDIA is destined to have a good year in tablets, no matter the competition. The Tegra 2 is available now, and brings a great experience to anything that uses it, it seems. Midas of geek tech?
Bet the guys over at NVIDIA are feeling pretty good right about now.