NVIDIA APX 2500 Development Platform
Is that a high-definition video decoding, 3D rendering powerhouse in your pocket?

Last week we got a little taste of NVIDIA's APX 2500 mobile processing platform which allows Windows Mobile device makers to implement high-definition computing and 3D graphics rendering capabilities in to their devices. Needless to say, reading the specs of the APX 2500 processor alone made me drool all over my keyboard.

Late last week, our friends over at InfoSync World released a brief hands-on with snapshots and a video of a prototype phone based on NVIDIA's APX 2500 processor. The graphics are beautiful with silky smooth animations and high quality rendering effects and all this was built into a phone just a bit larger the size of, well, an iPhone.

Cell phones have come a long way from the days of the brick the size of your head. At first, cell phone manufacturers worked to get these devices as small as possible to carry around in a pocket or purse, with some models so small you could fit them in your mouth. Now that phones are at the size consumers want them to be, cell phone manufacturers are laser focused on fitting as many features into them as they possibly can.

I recently upgraded to a Windows Mobile 6 Smartphone-based cellular phone from an old Nokia 6103 clamshell. The Motorola Q9c I picked up with a contract from Sprint has a lot of features, many that I would definitely use on a daily basis. I am able to send text messages, manage POP3 and IMAP4 email accounts, browse the Internet's mobile format websites, and enjoy audio and video in both low quality local and streaming formats. However, the techie that I am, I can never be satisfied with what I have.

As soon as I received the phone I began playing with the features and immediately found a few areas that needed improvement. Focusing on the phone's features and leaving the cellular service provider out of any criticism for now, I found the phone to be a bit on the sluggish side.

I went looking for the settings page to see if there was an area to tweak the hardware. Nothing. So I'm stuck with a phone that has quite a few features but I am not satisfied with the speed the device operates at and there is nothing I can do besides to try and overclock if possible. In the end I realized that no matter what tweaks are performed or what software is added, the current generation of devices will never match what we will see a year from now.

So what will NVIDIA's APX 2500 mobile processing platform bring? From the pictures and video it’s looking like the NVIDIA/Microsoft partnership will take the Windows Mobile platform farther than any other platform currently available.

Based on a scaled down version of the GeForce graphics processing unit the APX 2500 will be able to perform at least the basics of 3D rendering and effects such as lighting and reflections as we see in the video. Another feature that really gets the blood flowing is the ability to decode and encode high-definition video up to a resolution of 720p. However, NVIDIA is not only targeting this platform at consumers with entertainment in mind, but also to those with business needs.

Today we see all types of cell phones with varying features aimed at different markets. We're also seeing a lot more PDA-style devices aimed at the small business and corporate world with push-email, calendar management, and corporate communications suites. NVIDIA plans to have this market in mind as well as it gets closer to launching the APX 2500 platform.

NVIDIA has fed us only a small portion of the main course that will be served sometime next year, according to the graphics giant. Hopefully Computex will bring us a few more bites of what's to come in the near future.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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