We Ask: What is Tegra and why does it matter?


We’ve been talking about Nvidia’s Tegra on CG here and there, but not very many people know exactly what it is. Sure, it’s a tiny mobile computer, but how does it work and where did it come from? Where can we find it and why is it better than Intel’s Atom? We asked Nvidia this and more.

CrunchGear: What is Tegra?

Nvidia: Tegra is a mobile internet device platform that runs Windows Embedded CE, and devices will sell from carriers for as low as $99 USD. Tegra is an entire computer-on-a-chip, which includes 8 separate processors, including: a GPU, two video processors, and audio processor, two ARM core processor and more. This processor enables a low-cost, always-on, always-connected HD mobile Internet device (MID) that can go days between battery charges.

This platform will enable OEMs and ODMs to quickly build and bring to market devices that carriers can offer at minimal cost —bringing broadband connectivity and the entire Web’s HD content to the masses. The Tegra MID delivers:

* Up to 1080p high definition video playback
* Full resolution web page viewing
* Accelerated Flash support for a responsive full web experience
* Days of typical use between charges
* Wireless connectivity with WiFi, 3G or WiMax support
* Optimized hardware support for Web 2.0 applications for a true desktop-class internet experience
* A complete software solution including Microsoft Windows Embedded CE OS, application viewers, full Internet browser, UI framework, board support package (BSP), software development kit (SDK), Web mail client, and more

CrunchGear: Why and how is it better than atom?

Nvidia: Atom is just a cpu…nothing else.

Tegra is a low power full computer on a chip – 2 cpus, gpu, 2 video processors, audio processor, IO processor and a data processor. It runs a less that a watt for the most daunting tasks, ie: hd video playback.

CrunchGear: Why windows CE?

Nvidia: Right now we support Windows CE, Windows Mobile and Google Android…we feel that right now the Windows platform are more developed and more robust for the netbook market.

CrunchGear: Where will consumers buy Tegra?

Nvidia: Consumers will be able to get Tegra –based devices from carriers, like AT&T or T-mobile, for $199 USD, depending on the contract, by the end of this year.

CrunchGear: What does Tegra mean for the netbook space?

Nvidia: We think there are three meaningful categories of consumer computing devices—the PC, Mobile Internet Devices (also known as MIDs), and smartphones. If consumers are looking for a device that runs Windows 7 or Vista with demanding applications, they should get a PC. But if consumers are looking for an always-connected device for social media applications such as Facebook and YouTube, as well as great multimedia performance for recording and watching HD movies and videos on the go, they should think about a Tegra-based MID. If you need to fit your communications and entertainment device in a pocket – you need a Tegra-based smartphone or media player.

Nvidia Tegra