Nobody ever said the road to the future wouldn’t be devoid of speedbumps. Silicon Valley chipmaker Nvidia made a big splash in the mobile world at the beginning of this year when their Tegra 2 dual-core processors started showing up in Android smartphones and tablets from the likes of Asus, Motorola, and even the mighty Samsung (to name only a few). They then took the ultra-bold step of unveiling a three-year roadmap at MWC in February that included “Project Kal-El,” aka the world’s first quad-core mobile processors.
The real stunner was the timeline for Kal-El to hit the market. Just as mobile’s early adopters were getting their hands on the first dual-core Android phones and tablets, Nvidia said quad-core devices would be available within six months or so, beginning with tablets in August. Alas, bold tech predictions sometimes have a way of being a little too ambitious.
The good news is we’re still looking at quad-core tablets this year. The bad news is the delivery dates have officially been pushed back a few months. Rumors surfaced over the past few weeks that the first quad-core tablets were being pushed back, and Nvidia made it official yesterday, confirming delays to the media. A company rep had this to say when I reached out for comment:
Project Kal-El-powered tablets are coming this Fall, and phones around the CES 2012 timeframe.
So what was tablets in August (or “August/September,” depending on who you ask) and phones in time for the 2011 holidays is now looking like tablets no earlier than October, and phones no earlier than January ’12. Disappointing on the one hand, but then again Nvidia’s chief rival in the Android space, Qualcomm, is just getting their first dual-core chips to market via their partners’ phones. So Kal-El slipping back a few months won’t exactly put Nvidia at the back of the back when it comes to bleeding edge mobile processing power.
Whether or not consumers will feel a need for quad-core tablets and phones is one thing. Another thing entirely is the processing prowess already displayed by Kal-El prototypes. Take a trip down memory lane and check out this demo video from Kal-El’s unveiling to members of the press back in Barcelona this February. I was in the room, and it was impressive. I’m sure it still will be, whenever it hits store shelves.