Maybe we should put out a tablet -- we could call it the MaxiPad -- because at this point, it seems like we're the only ones who have yet to announce an upcoming slate. All the cool kids are doing it, which now includes Hannspree.
Come November, Hannspree promises to launch a 10.1-inch multi-touch slate with a capacitive screen sporting a 1024x600 resolution. It will come armed with Nvidia's Tegra 2 SoC with a pair of ARM Cortex-A9 cores clocked at 1GHz.
Like so many other upcoming tablets, this particularly one will run on Google's Android 2.2 platform with native Flash 10.1 support and a custom UI. Other features include 16GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, mini USB and mini HDMI ports, an accelerometer, and a 3,500mAh battery Hannspree claims will provide enough juice for up to 8 hours of 1080p playback.
For mobile PC vendors, the smart money is on netbooks, ultraportables, and upcoming tablets, but don't count smartbooks out of the mix just yet. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in the notebook business, Toshiba this week kicked out the AC100, a mighty smartbook capable of holding a charge for up to a week in standby.
The AC100 comes built around Nvidia's Tegra 250 platform and includes a 1GHz ARM processor. You'll also find 512MB of DDR2 memory, up to 32GB of SSD storage, a single USB 2.0 port, a Mini USB port, 1.3MP webcam, HDMI, Wi-Fi, and various other odds and ends.
What you won't find is any flavor of Windows, and instead Toshiba has tapped into Google's Android 2.1 platform. According to Toshiba, this gives the AC100 a smartphone-like prowess capable of switching from standby to full activity mode in less than a second.
The big question here is whether or not this one will make it to the U.S. market, which might depend on how the whole tablet thing shakes out in the coming months. As it stands, Toshiba will start shipping the AC100 to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa in the third quarter, and after that, it's anyone's guess.
We've been hearing about a possible Zune phone for quite some time now, and according to Spanish blog MuyComputer, Microsoft will unveil the rumored smartphone later this month at the MWC in Barcenlona.
"The Zune Phone presentation at Barcenlona's Mobile World Congress 2010 is 100 percent confirmed," Engadget claims to have heard from MuyComputer's editorial director, Javier Perez Cortijo.
Should the rumor prove correct, calling it a 'Zune Phone' might be a bit misleading. This won't be a Zune player with a phone tacked on, and instead will be a Windows Mobile 7 device with Zune software.
On the hardware side, the Zune Phone will tap into Tegra. It will also sport a 480 x 272 touchscreen and come with an HDMI video out port, MuyComputer reports.
If you follow trends at all, then it's not too hard to figure out what the current one is. In recent times, first it was netbooks that stole the show, followed by e-book readers, and now tablet PCs are all the talk. Enter Asus, who along with MSI (see here), has no intention of letting Apple corner the market.
Like MSI's unit, Asus' Eee Tablet (or whatever it will be called) will tap into Tegra, and specifically Tegra 2. But it will also sport a dual-core ARM Cortex 9 based processor with support for multitasking. In other words, you can expect a fairly powerful tablet capable of full 1080p HD playback, which makes the HDMI connector a most welcome addition.
What we don't know is how much it will cost, and probably won't have those details until CeBit, which kicks off in early March.
Nvidia has announced today that they are releasing a new version if their powerful Tegra chip. This one has been specifically designed for the higher power requirements of tablets. The new chip promises hardware acceleration of Adobe Flash 10.1 for 1080p video streaming. Nvidia claims the new Tegra will also be capable of running high resolution 3D graphics while maintaining battery life.
The Tegra uses eight independent processors including an industry first 1Ghz dual-core ARM CPU. Also on board are dedicated HD encoding and 3D graphics processors. Overall performance is said to be 10 times that of current smartphone processors, and 4 times faster than the original Tegra. Nivdia plans to show off a number of Tegra-packing tablets at CES, so stay tuned.
The site also claims to have been tipped about some of the tablet's specs. According to Engadget's "credible" sources, the tablet currently runs Windows CE and features a resistive touchscreen. It went on to add that an Android-based variant, also featuring a capacitive touchscreen, is in the works. Apparently, the plan is to have the tablet ready for a March 2010 launch. The site even named T-Mobile as a likely carrier.
MSI has so far been pretty quiet about its plans to enter the increasingly crowded e-book market, instead letting others steal the spotlight. Maybe not for long, based on what we just found out. According to MSI chairman Joseph Hsu, the company is developing an e-reader built around Nvidia's Tegra platform.
Sounds promising just on that tidbit alone, but unfortunately, we won't see anything from MSI in time of the holidays. There are still some kinks to be worked out, so MSI has decided to hold off until the first half of 2010 to divulge any more details. Bummer.
The timing might not be terrible for MSI. It's true that rival Asus also plans to release an e-book reader in the near future, but first run batches will be limited and aimed at charities. Consumer models aren't expected to ship until the first quarter of 2010. Plus, tapping into Tegra could potentially turn out to be a huge advantage for MSI, particularly when pitted against grayscale e-book readers like the one Asus is working on.
Nvidia's Tegra platform continues to woo big-name customers, most recently attracting Nintendo, who reportedly is in talks with Nvidia to provide some extra oomph for its next-gen DS handheld console.
The deal marks a win-win situation for both involved. For Nvidia's part, no other handheld console would put Tegra in more hands, courtesy of the DS's 68.3 percent worldwide market share. And for Nintendo, tapping into Tegra gives the company's console a power boost sure to be well received by consumers and developers alike.
Until more details are released, we can only speculate on what the next DS might be like, but it's at least feasible that on top of the added muscle, it will also sport backwards compatibility with the existing DS library, assuming Theo Valich's sources prove reliable.
What will also be interesting to watch is how this relationship between Nintendo and Nvidia plays out in the home console market. Might Nvidia replace ATI as the graphics vendor of choice in whatever supersedes the Wii? We'll have to wait to find out.
Turns out the rumors are true - at some point in the not too distant future, you will see Google Chrome OS devices running on Nvidia's Tegra platform. At least that's what Mike Rayfield, Nvidia's GM of Mobile Business, told jkOnTheRun.com.
Rayfileld said Nvidia is "working closely with Google" on the Chrome OS platform, which is part of Nvidia's two-pronged approach. The first is to put Tegra on Windows Mobile and Google Android devices, but far from being just for handhelds, Rayfield said Tegra will also find a home in Windows CE and Google Chrome OS-based smartbooks and netbooks.
This could potentially be a huge development, given Tegra's prowess in the portable space. The Tegra platform excels at running small, energy efficient gadgets, as evidenced by the new Zune HD, and when combined with Chrome, a Tegra netbook could give today's units a run for their money.
Microsoft's upcoming Zune HD will get more than a little help from Nvidia in going toe-to-toe against Apple's iPod and every other handheld media player on the market. Providing extra processor oomph, the Zune HD will use Nvidia's multi-core Tegra processor.
"Nvidia brings power graphics to the portable media player. This is a unique capability," said Jeff Orr, senior analyst for mobile content at ABI Research.
What makes Nvidia's Tegra so special -- and the Zune HD so promising -- are eight independent processors, which will go a long ways in helping the Zune HD handle high definition video and Flash content on its OLED touch screen without necessitating a bulky formfactor.
"Apple probably builds a pretty good SoC [System-on-Chip], but in terms of what they have already enabled [on the iPod Touch], I don't believe it has nearly the graphics and power management that Tegra does," said Mike Rayfield, a general manager at Nvidia. "We've benchmarked against everyone out there, and we are the most advanced in terms of graphics and overall power management."
The Zune HD will be just one of many devices to make use of Nvidia's Tegra processor. According to Nvidia, there are about 50 other gadgets in design right now with Tegra.