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CES 2013: Nvidia shows off Tegra 4

Nvidia (NVDA) is kicking off its week at the Consumer Electronics Show with a claim that it has the world’s fastest mobile processor. The Tegra 4 combines a quad-core ARM Cortex-A15CPU with a 72 core GPU. Nvidia says the 72 custom graphics processing cores give the Tegra 4 six times the GPU horsepower of Tegra 3.

Nvidia has traditionally been a leader in developing chipsets for gaming devices, and is clearly hard at work trying to stake the same claim in the smartphone and tablet space. The Tegra 4 also integrates the GPU and the CPU with a camera chip to deliver high dynamic range photos and video. “Its new capabilities, particularly in the area of computational photography, will help improve a whole range of existing products and lead to the creation of exciting new ones,” said Phil Carmack, Nvidia’s senior vice president for Tegra.

The Tegra 4 also aims to offer worldwide LTE voice and data support through an optional modem processor, the Nvidia Icera i500. Since LTE uses different frequencies in different locations, offering LTE support throughout the world is a tall order. Furthermore, voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) is still not commercially available in most parts of the United States, much less the rest of the world.

Nvidia says that users of smartphones and tablets powered by the Tegra 4 should be able to enjoy intense gaming and video viewing without worrying too much about battery life. The company says the chipset offers up to 14 hours of HD video playback on smartphones. One of the chipset’s cores operates at low power during standard use, and the Tegra 4 also uses a technology that reduces the power needed to backlight the display.

The Tegra 4 is the successor to Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chipset, which powers the HTC One X, the Motorola Droid X2, and the Acer Iconia tablets.

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Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse is the publisher of Network Builder Reports ( At RCR, Martha authored more than 20 in-depth feature reports and more than 2,400 news articles. She also created the Mobile Minute and the 5 Things to Know Today series. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York and managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Martha is the board president of Austin's Trinity Center and is a member of the Women's Wireless Leadership Forum.

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