updated 11:25 am EST, Mon February 16, 2009
NVIDIA 99 Dollar 1080p MID
NVIDIA today made ambitious claims for handheld devices centering on its Tegra all-in-one processors. The graphics company now believes that its Tegra 600 chip can result in a mobile Internet device (MID) that costs just $99 and yet which has features normally off-limits to more expensive MIDs and even smartphones. Combining a 750MHz ARM processor and graphics acceleration lets it support both full web browsing and other high-end mobile apps but also play back 1080p HD video without requiring a separate graphics component.
The Tegra 600 is also power-efficient and would let a device run in normal use for "days," NVIDIA estimates. A reference design meeting the price point would also have 3G and Wi-Fi support thanks to an ST-Ericsson modem and would use Windows CE Embedded as its foundation.
When the design will reach a shipping product isn't mentioned, though NVIDIA describes the $99 MID as a reference platform and isn't pushing companies to use its exact specifications. Most MIDs typically have a screen at or near 5 inches and a small amount of flash memory; they commonly stress web, e-mail and IM use along with media playback.
In addition to the mid-size device concept, NVIDIA has also set out plans to port Google's Android mobile operating system to Tegra chips, which would let smartphones and other handhelds run the open-source software while still supporting advanced features like 720p video recording and playback. The port will be ready for companies to use in spring and will be accompanied by the new APX 2600 chip, which adds support for more advanced VC-1 video decoding and improved USB 2.0 support.