What you’re looking at above is NVIDIA’s latest roadmap for their Tegra line of processors. The Tegra 2, which runs in many Android Honeycomb tablets and quite a few high end Android Gingerbread smartphones, is due to get an upgrade later this year to a quad core variant called Kal-El that’s supposed to be 5x more powerful. We’ve been hearing about Kal-El since February of this year and have been anxiously awaiting the first products that feature said processor, but what about the stuff after Kal-El? Last week NVIDIA held a meeting with the press to talk about the company, and we reported on their ambitions to grow their mobile chip business by a factor of 10x in just 4 short years, so how exactly are they going to deliver that? In mid 2012 Kal-El is going to get a spec bump, aptly called Kal-El+, and according to the roadmap it’s a processor that’s likely going to be used to power “clamshells”, which we’re going to translate as devices that look more like the laptops of today, likely running Microsoft’s next version of Windows.
After Kal-El+, in 2013, Wayne is supposed to hit the scene. According to Wikipedia it’s supposed to use ARM’s new Cortex A15 architecture, have a faster GPU, and be built on a 28 nanometer process whereas Kal-El is built using a 40 nanometer process. That’s important for battery life. Rumors are flying around the internets saying Apple’s next processor, the A6, will be built using a 28 nanometer process. The difference between Wayne and the A6 however is the latter is expected to come out in spring 2012 with the iPad 3, whereas the former might make it inside Q4 2012 products, but more likely end up shipping in early 2013.
Alongside Wayne is a new chip called Grey that brings an integrated cellular radio to the table. That’s going to be the make it or break it chip for NVIDIA since it has the potential to be the foundation for an entire generation of smartphones … if they manage to make it better than whatever Qualcomm is offering at the time.
In short, we’re living in good times, and our mobile devices are going to get faster than any of us realize right now.