Tegra 4 drives NVIDIA's upcoming first party hardware

NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) -- a graphics card and mobile system-on-a-chip (SoC) maker -- will be releasing a new tablet of its own, according to a filing with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

I. NVIDIA Preps a Tablet of its Own

U.S. laws require device makers to submit paperwork for their upcoming wireless devices to the FCC.  As much of these submissions are publicly available, the FCC has proved a fruitful source of device leaks.

NVIDIA's upcoming tablet has become the latest leak.  Documents reveal it is named (or codenamed?) the "Tegra TAB", with the former part of its name coming from NVIDIA's Tegra SoC line for smartphones and tablets.  An attached manual reveals that the tablet will run Google Inc.'s (GOOGAndroid 4.3 "Jelly Bean".

NVIDIA tablet leak
A purported leaked image of the NVIDIA P1640/Tegra TAB tablet [Image Source: Engadget]

The tablet appears to have been floating around previously under the codename "P1640".

The new NVIDIA device will likely feature NVIDIA's upcoming Tegra 4i (Grey) chip, which is vying with Qualcomm, Inc.'s (QCOM) Snapdragon 800 for dominance in the mobile market.  The Surface RT 2 from Microsoft -- which may launch this holiday season -- is also rumored to feature a Tegra 4i chip.  

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 and NVIDIA Tegra 4i are nearly identical on paper -- both are clocked at up to 2.3 GHz, both feature four primary CPU cores, both feature an on-die LTE modem

II. Mediocre Hardware

Otherwise the hardware in NVIDIA's Android tablet is unremarkable, suggesting the tablet may be aimed at budget buyers.  The device features a 7-inch display with a mediocre 1280x720 pixel resolution (720p) (Google'.s Nexus 7 packs a 1920x1200 pixel screen).  The battery on board will be a 3200 or 4100mAh (Google's Nexus 7, for comparison, has a 3,950 mAh battery in its latest variant).

NVIDIA Tegra chip
NVIDIA has established itself as a power player in the mobile SoC market.

At last check Google sells the Nexus 7 at $229 USD (16 GB)/$300 USD (32 GB), so NVIDIA's tablet will need to be aggressively priced to sell well.

Android tablets are booming; in Q2 2013, they outsold Apple's iPad 2-to-1, seizing a commanding lead, according to statistics from the International Data Corp. (IDC).  Many mobile-centric firms are looking to delve into the tablet market -- a market that continues to show healthy growth.  In addition to NVIDIA, Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V), a veteran smartphone maker, is rumored to be prepping its first large-size tablet device.  Nokia was acquired by Microsoft earlier this month.

In recent years NVIDIA has often launched developer hardware platforms, but these designs were never consumer-targeted.  Tegra TAB, along with NVDIA's Android-based "Shield" console, represents a new era for NVIDIA as a first-party consumer gadget-maker.  Qualcomm similarly turned heads last week when it announced the "Toq", a smartwatch competitor to Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KSC:005930Galaxy Gear, and Apple's upcoming iWatch.

Sources: FCC, Engadget

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