Tegra Tablets Today, Smartphones Soon

The original Tegra was a 65nm chip made at TSMC, this one is 40nm also made at TSMC. The die shrink gives NVIDIA the ability to cram around 2x the transistor count into the same space.

At 260M transistors, Tegra 2 is a fairly complex chip. The total die size is approximately 49mm^2, which actually sounds big given the target market. The A9s occupy around 10% of the total die area.

The initial Tegra 2 chips will be paired with an 8.8mm BGA package for use in standard tech PCBs. Smartphone versions will be in smaller packages in order to save real estate.

NVIDIA is supplying 5" development boards to its partners interested in Tegra 2. NVIDIA tells us that there are "hundreds" of these systems out in the wild. As you can guess by the size of the development board, the initial target for this chip isn't quite a smartphone.

The focus of today's announcement is unfortunately tablets. They are going to be able to make it to market quicker and are farther along the design process. While we don't expect any vendor to have completely nailed the perfect tablet yet, we should see some interesting UIs and form factors.

Multiple sources have now told me that the reason we never saw Tegra 1 in any smartphones or mainstream devices until the Zune HD was a simple case of NVIDIA arrogance. NVIDIA assumed that selling Tegra to phone manufacturers was just like selling GPUs to PC vendors, and it most definitely wasn't. It's been a long learning process, but NVIDIA appears to be better as a result.

There are Tegra 1 smartphones in flight right now. Presumably we'll see the first at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month. There are also Tegra 2 smartphones that are currently being designed. We will see these before the end of 2010.

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  • altarity - Thursday, January 7, 2010 - link

    Guess it's a love hate situation. I kinda like the idea of the boxee being subsumed by my bedroom dresser....
  • sprockkets - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    It would just take up too much space in an a/v cabinet.
  • altarity - Thursday, January 7, 2010 - link

    Maybe that's what the Boxee Box will be running....
  • ET - Thursday, January 7, 2010 - link

    Quake 3 yet again. Yawn. I know it's probably the only 3D game available, but I'm still waiting to see WoW and Sims 3 running on a Tegra. Then I'll know the PC is dead.
  • jconan - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    but with the new DS2 or whatever it will be called, there will be next gen 3d games...
  • Fox5 - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    It's rather sad, Quake 3 has been used to demo 3d pda/phone/other tiny device capabilities since the MBX Lite.

    Seriously, when will phones/mini-computers finally move beyond the level of dreamcast?
  • jensend - Thursday, January 7, 2010 - link

    You won't see WoW and Sims running on a Tegra for a good long while, as those are DirectX based and thus stuck with Windows and x86. Q3 keeps getting shown off on mobile because it uses OpenGL and its code is open so people don't have to do messy licensing stuff to be able to port it to other architectures.
  • sprockkets - Thursday, January 7, 2010 - link

    So how does WoW run on OSX since it has no DirectX?

    From what I understand taking DirectX and making it OpenGL or equiv. isn't that hard. There just has to be a compelling reason to do it (ie money).
  • Affectionate-Bed-980 - Thursday, January 7, 2010 - link

    x86 buddy. x86. You obviously don't know what that means.
  • casmith - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    Minimum: PowerPC G5 1.6 GHz or Intel Core Duo processor

    What does x86 have to do with it, again?

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