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NVIDIA Tegra 4i processor confirmed: quad-core, integrated 4G for cheaper phones

NVIDIA has announced a new addition to its Tegra processor family. The NVIDIA Tegra 4i is a compact single-chip quad-core processor with integrated 4G, designed for mainstream phones.

Formally known as ‘Project Grey’ the Tegra 4i is designed to bring quad-core performance to phones ranging from $100-$300, in contrast the NVIDIA Tegra 4 is designed for ‘super phones’ (high-end smartphones). Consequently the NVIDIA Tegra 4i doesn’t offer the graphical performance of the Tegra 4 and supports a maximum screen resolution of 1920×1200 (instead of 3200×1200), but also includes battery-saver core, along with lower power consumption and – of course – that integrated LTE (4G) chip.

“NVIDIA is delivering for the first time a single, integrated processor that powers all the major functions of a smartphone,” said Phil Carmack, senior vice president of the Mobile business at NVIDIA. “Tegra 4i phones will provide amazing computing power, world-class phone capabilities, and exceptionally long battery life.”

NVIDIA Tegra 4i chip
 

At just 60mm square the Tegra 4i is approximately half the size of competing 4G quad core chips, but NVIDIA claimes it is the ‘highest performing single-chip smartphone processor,’ with performance 2.7x more efficient than the rival chips.  The ARM Cortex-A9 CPU is 15 – 30 per cent more efficent than the Tegra 3 chip, used in devices like the LG Optimus 2X.

The advantages of Tegra 4i include fast 4G, fast web browsing TegraZone gaming and NVIDIA Chimera Computational Photography Architecture with support for HDR Burst Mode and HDR Video.  Two new features include Tap to Track, where you tap an object and it will track any subject when they come and leave the screen. The second feature is HDR Panorama with real-time stitching.

NVIDIA has released a blueprint for its smartphone manufacturing partners for Tegra 4i called ‘Phoenix.’ Phoenix has a 5-inch 1080p screen, is 8mm deep and includes support for all 4G bands. These specifications seem pretty advanced for a chip for mainstream phones, but smartphone technology will develop a lot in the next 12 months and these specifications will become more common.

NVIDIA Phoenix

NVIDIA expects the first phone with TEGRA 4i to launch at the end of the year, with more phones expected in 2014, it will primarily be used in phones ranging from $100-$300 on contract, pitting it as a chip for the mid-market. Interestingly although NVIDIA’s focus is primarily smartphones, we may well see the chip in tablets.

 

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