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Leaked: NVIDIA’s 3D-capable Tegra 2 processor arriving sooner than expected?

Now that the Nintendo 3DS console has earned the honour of being the world’s first handheld computing device capable of producing 3D images, it should come as little surprise that the race to be the next such device has just gotten a little more intense. A leaked NVIDIA slide has revealed that the graphics giant is planning to bring the power of 3D to devices such as tablets and smartphones, and the first such product might start showing itself as soon as Spring hits this year.

Barely three weeks ago, NVIDIA was claiming that their Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip solution would be instrumental in creating a new breed of “super phones” which had enough processing power to essentially take over the netbook’s role as a mobile multimedia consumption machine. Indeed, who could forget NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang’s little demonstration back at CES2011, where he connected a Tegra 2-powered smartphone to a HDTV and proceeded to run games and full HD movies without the device showing any signs of slowdown.

That being said, it is clear that NVIDIA is not about to stop at merely making Tegra 2 the fastest and most powerful SoC of its class, especially if one takes into account the company’s ambitious track record. According to leaked company slides obtained by TechEye, it appears that the company has got something even more ambitious planned in store for consumers and OEMs, and this comes in the form of a 3D-capable Tegra 2 SoC that is allegedly due for shipping as early as spring this year.

Based on the leaked slide shown in the above image, it seems that NVIDIA is planning on segmenting its smartphone and tablet SoCs by producing two distinct processors, the T25 and AP25. That being said, it appears that both the T25 and AP25 will sport multiple similarities with each other due to both chips being based of the Dual Cortex-A9’s specifications. Indeed, the slide shown above reveals that both the AP25 and T25 feature near-identical clock speeds and performance of up to 1.2GHz and 5520 MIPS. And if Jen-Hsun Huang’s demonstration at CES2011 means anything, it is highly possible that the Tegra 2 3D will be capable of lasting more than 24 hours on a single battery charge even under full load.

In addition, TechEye also claims that 3D Tegra 2-powered smartphones and tablets are unlikely to use the same 3D technology utilized by the Nintendo 3DS console. According to the website, NVIDIA’s solution is considered the “real deal” because it does not make use of a “parallax barrier” to achieve its 3D effect, which is considered to be rather limiting in the viewing angle department. Instead, the Tegra 2 3D SoC will utilize a more advanced “cell parallax” technology which “uses individual cells to create the 3D effect”.

However, it is the expected date of production and availability that is probably the real crux of the story. Considering that the announcement of Tegra 2-powered smartphones was made by NVIDIA only three weeks ago, it is clear that such ‘superphones’ have yet to fully take off in the market. And with NVIDIA announcing mass production of the 3D-capable Tegra 2 SoCs in as early as Q1 this year, it is likely that NVIDIA’s move will not be warmly welcomed by OEMs who have already made substantial investments into developing smartphones and tablets for the standard Tegra 2 platform. After all, who wants to spend good money on a ‘superphone’ when ‘3D superphones’ are already starting to show up on the horizon of future smartphone releases?

Source and slides: TechEye

VR-Zone is a leading online technology news publication reporting on bleeding edge trends in PC and mobile gadgets, with in-depth reviews and commentaries.

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