Nvidia will supposedly launch a branded tablet with Tegra 5 in Q1 2014.
We're pretty sure Nvidia said it was open to acquisitions, not making its own tablets. Actually, company CEO Jen-Hsun Huang dictated that very stance at Computex back in June, saying that Nvidia will not build devices that the market already has, hence the launch of its Android-based Shield handheld. That no-entry zone includes smartphones, PCs and tablets. Of course, the company has its own reference designs built around the Tegra family of chips, but that's a different story.
Yet the rumor mill keeps churning nevertheless. The first sign of a possible Nvidia tablet surfaced on a GFXBench results page, listed as the Nvidia Tegra Note Premium. It scored slightly lower than the Shield handheld, and featured a Tegra 4 chip clocked at 1.8 GHz. The device also had a 1280 x 800 resolution, and ran Android 4.2.2 "Jelly Bean."
This, of course, circles back to Computex and Nvidia demonstrating a new technology supported by Tegra 4 called DirectStylus. This tech allows a Tegra 4 tablet owner to draw lines of different widths by using a fine-tip passive conductive stylus and different amounts of pressure. Thus the combination filters out the user's palm and fingertips, and replicates the natural ease of writing and erasing on paper.
It's believed that the device demonstrated during Computex is the same one showing up on the GFXBench results. This will supposedly be the company's 7 inch model in addition to a branded premium 10 inch model. The larger model will supposedly pack Nvidia's Tegra 5 "Logan" chip which will have its own tasty little Kepler GPU cores.
Now here's something to keep in mind: Nvidia is still backing Windows RT. If the company does have plans for a tablet, especially a 7 inch form factor, this may be the OS of choice. "Surface RT is the very beginning of a long process and it's the first shot in a changing landscape," said Rene Haas, vice president of computing products at Nvidia. "Microsoft is moving the entire Windows platform to something really mobile."
Of course, that doesn't rule out Android as the OS for a Nvidia tablet, as the company went with Google's platform for Shield. But earlier this year, Razer chose Windows 8 for its Edge and Edge Pro tablets so that PC gamers can play their favorite titles on the go. Yet that wouldn't be the focus of a Tegra-based tablet because, let's face it, x86-based PC games like Skyrim and Dishonored can't run on a chip based on ARM's architecture. The whole x86-based software incompatibility fiasco with Windows RT has been the platform's biggest thorn since launch.
The latest Nvidia tablet rumor stems from unnamed European sources who claim the high-end branded model will arrive sometime in Q1 2014. We're asking Nvidia now if there's anything that needs clearing up, so stay tuned to this rumor channel.