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.
It just feels like it's been available for a long time; except it hasn't.
I still think the T4 is going to be a flop in the grand scheme of things. Nvidia has not demonstrated that it can deliver the technical performance under a thermal dissipation and power-limited environment like a tablet or phone. Plus, the T4i is the more-likely part for phones, and it's a glorified T3 in many ways. I would say closer to a T3 than a T4, but that's yet to be seen. Plus, Qualcomm hasn't slowed their advancement, and has established a strong presence. Their advantage has been fast refreshes without the blunders that Nvidia has made from the original tegra through the T3.
I await real-device benchmarks for the T4, and the dumb Shield doesn't count.
Right...but what if Nvidia keeps the T5 (and its advancements over the T4) for their own tablets. Only way to get the more-advanced Tegra is to buy one of their tablets. I'm not saying that this will definitely happen, but I could see how it might occur to Nvidia, assuming this release timetable is accurate (which I doubt).