Sunday was day zero at International CES, the first major consumer electronics show of 2013, currently getting underway in Las Vegas. While the majority of big name manufacturers are yet to hold their press conferences, NVIDIA decided to get an early start, and has already announced its Tegra 4 processor.
Many will be familiar with the Tegra 3 chip, which powered several of 2012′s biggest devices, including the HTC One X and the Nexus 7 tablet. Its successor, the Tegra 4, remains a quad-core chip with a fifth core which will look after the basic tasks in an effort to conserve power, and therefore battery life.
NVIDIA says the Tegra 4 is the “world’s fastest mobile processor”, although no clock speed has been revealed, however it is the first quad-core chip to be built using the ARM Cortex A15 architecture. Demonstrations showed the chip’s gaming and photographic prowess, and also its improved speed – halving the time the powerful Nexus 10 tablet took to load 25 unique websites.
No manufacturers have announced any mobile phones or tablets using the Tegra 4 yet, but NVIDIA surprised us by revealing a system of its own named Project Shield. It’s a handheld gaming device with a flip-up, 5-inch display with a 720p resolution, and an Xbox-style controller. Project Shield runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and has access to Google Play and NVIDIA’s Tegra Zone store.
As well as running mobile games, Project Shield will integrate with a Windows desktop PC using NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 650 range of graphics cards to stream games wirelessly. In the future, it’ll be able to stream games and video to a television too, turning it into a wireless entertainment hub.
At the moment, Project Shield has only been announced for the US and Canada, where it’ll arrive before the summer. The price hasn’t been confirmed either.