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Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 05 January 2011

NVIDIA Unveils Tegra 2 SuperPhone and Project Denver ARM CPU

NVIDIA Tegra 2 powered LG Optimus X2 SuperPhone delivers console gaming GPU power, while Project Denver handles Microsoft Windows

NVIDIA made two major announcements at the 2011 CES, and for once neither of them had anything to do with desktop graphics. The first was their strongest effort to date into the mobile telecommunications segment, introducing the NVIDIA Tegra 2 powered LG Optimus X2 SuperPhone - a term NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has adopted to describe ultra-powerful mobile phone devices with console gaming GPU power. The NVIDIA Tegra 2 SOC (System on a Chip) has been largely anticipated, but very few believed it could deliver this much power. A troubled demonstration ensued, and while gaming looked good there were still questions remaining without solid answers.

For those without preview access to a working sample unit, it might come down to faith. At their 2011 CES unveiling event, NVIDIA offered media complimentary access to WiFi Internet access inside the ballroom. This probably seemed like a great idea to help quickly get news to press, but it later became a point of contention during the demonstration portion of Mr. Huang's presentation. The LG Optimus X2 SuperPhone is claimed to offer full Adobe Flash support and playback over Google's Android OS, but when it came time to prove this claim Jen-Hsun resorted to begging and asked attendees to spare some bandwidth so he could load a web page for his demo. It didn't happen.

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Keeping in mind that the audience was full of tech-savvy media, more than a few guests voiced concerns. As a network administrator by trade, it seemed that event coordinators would have followed basic protocol by creating a dual-homed network using two separately managed WiFi points. It seems grossly negligent that nobody thought ahead and anticipated more than a thousand media partners would be uploading photos and streaming video live from the event. Some skeptics discussed another possibility: that the LG Optimus X2 SuperPhone, Tegra 2 GPU, Adobe Flash, Google Android, or all of the above, just weren't ready to be put on public display.

Jen-Hsun used a standard HDMI cable to connect his LG Optimus X2 SuperPhone into a nearby HDTV, and commenced to play the Angry Birds app at full 1080 resolution. Given the successful display of 3D gaming performance during the demonstration of a third-person RPG, there's certainly a lot of entertainment potential with Tegra 2. It's very likely that Tegra 2 can easily play back Adobe Flash content, but an actual demonstration would have calmed the skeptics. Benchmark Reviews offers several images of the event in our Facebook photo album, so please take a look and become a fan while you're at it!

The other announcement was held until the end of Jen-Hsun Huang's presentation, as it's quite possibly the most controversial revelation he's made in months, as he changed topic to unveil NVIDIA Project Denver. For those who aren't in the business of researching manufacturer code names, NVIDIA Project Denver is an ARM processor with desktop potential. While Intel has been toiling at discreet graphics without much success, NVIDIA has now joined into their world of consumer CPUs. There was a lot of conjecture available following this announcement, including the unconfirmed report that Microsoft is developing a version of the Windows OS to operate with the ARM processor. Time will tell how much of this event will become reality, but with NVIDIA stock prices (NASDAQ:NVDA) trading above their 50-day moving average it sure helps the momentum.

Full disclosure: the author of this article does not own shares of NVIDIA stock, or maintain a monetary interest in the company.


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# Tegra 2 nowreginhild 2011-01-09 07:37
Runs flash super smooth as any Viewsonic g Tablet owner can tell you. I have a g Tablet. Just about the only thing available right now with the Tegra 2 processor. Quadrant benchmark scores are 3300+ with the current rooted roms available at xda forums. We will likely continue to see better performance results as new versions of android and roms are optimised to make the best use of the dual core CPU and eight core gpu integrated on this chip.

Enjoying the Tegra 2 now :-)
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