updated 10:15 am EST, Mon January 24, 2011
NVIDIA Tegra 3 leaks with late 2011 ship date
NVIDIA may be first to have a shipping quad-core processor in a tablet. A new copy of the same slide that showed the Tegra 2 3D has listed the Tegra 3. The design would closely follow Qualcomm's own ambitions and see a 1.5GHz, quad-core design that would be more than twice as fast as any Tegra 2. BSON heard that triple the graphics power would be onboard to decode Blu-ray video and to power a 1920x1200 main display.
To keep the power draw reasonable, it would have an ULP (ultra low power) processor mode to presumably cut back on the clock speed or number of active cores to save on battery life. As with earlier Tegras, NVIDIA would have both the full-power tablet version, the T30, and a smartphone-optimized AP30 that would be limited to a 1366x768 main display but still have the option of quad-core in a large design.
Test samples of the Tegra 3 may have already started leaving the factory at the end of last year, but NVIDIA isn't expected to ship the new components until fall this year. The timing is such that it's more likely Tegra 3 won't be in stores until early 2012 for most devices.
The chip could make for the second major leap in mobile performance in a single year as dual-core tablets and smartphones will finally ship on a wide scale in the first few months of the year. Tegra 2 hardware will ship in the Motorola Atrix 4G and Xoom as well as many other Android-powered hardware. Apple is expected to answer back with dual-core iPads and iPhones using custom chips of its own, but its once a year update cycle makes it unlikely that it will have quad-core designs until mid-2012.