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First Look: Audi's Tegra-powered Smart Display tablet

updated 07:55 pm EST, Thu January 9, 2014

We check out Audi's 10.2-inch Smart Display tablet

Electronista got a chance to briefly check out Audi's newly-announced partnership with Nokia on its Audi Smart Display. The tablet is certainly large, measuring 10.2 inches diagonally -- and while we weren't able to hold it ourselves, we did swipe through its many menus and screens.

The display model ran on Android 4.3, and proved well polished, as expected, with nary a hiccup in sight. Full credit goes to the Tegra T40 processor but then again, this was a pre- or early production unit running demo content and not really loaded up at all -- so a final judgement needs to be reserved for a later time.

The My Desk shortcut takes users to a customized home screen where they can pin commonly-used apps, web links, photos, and other content. The maximum brightness of the device left something to be desired, however, especially considering how bright the booth was and how glossy the screen was.

We foresee the Audi Smart Display being not only a major fingerprint magne,t but also challenging to read in daylight by passengers. How (and we really hope this isn't a question of if) Audi will ensure drivers don't operate the tablet while the car is in motion remains to be seen. Also unknown is how the Smart Display will be marketed and sold, whether by itself or as part of a more comprehensive technology or other type of options package.

The browser and Google Earth for navigation apps were quick, though we doubt Audi was using the LTE connection in the crowded space that is CES. Still, the car's AT&T LTE connection, when available, won't be a slouch either. The tablet talks to the car over Wi-Fi, and can control its radio, media, and navigation systems as well as receiving critical vehicle statistics.

The Car Info shortcut shows vehicle stats such as engine RPM, vehicle speed, gear, engine oil and coolant, as well as the outdoor temperature, fuel range, tire pressures, and the odometers. We're not sure how useful this may be in the real world, unless perhaps one lends their Audi to the offspring and is able to monitor its vitals from the comforts of home.

Speaking of offspring, letting them control the car's music selection may be a test of patience by the driver, though chauffeured owners may find it more welcoming. Audi points out that the tablet is detachable, thus letting kids or passengers finish watching movies once they've reached their destination. The tablet can also pair to wireless devices quickly and efficiently thanks to a built-in NFC radio.

While we didn't spend any time playing with the Tegra 3-powered digital instrument cluster, we did manage to sneak in a quick peek, and it certainly impressed with its crystal clear graphics. The 12.3-inch display will debut in the 2015 Audi TT coupe.

by MacNN Staff



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