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Nvidia announces the Tegra Note, a 7-inch showcase for its Tegra 4 chip

Manufacturers and OEMs seem to have ignored Nvidia’s latest mobile chip, the Tegra 4, in favour of Qualcomm’s silicon instead. So how does a company go about getting its chips into the hands of consumers when no one has access to it? By building its own tablet platform.

That’s exactly what Nvidia has done with the Tegra Note, an affordable 7-inch tablet specifically designed to promote Tegra. Nvidia is natrually making lots of noise about the Tegra 4, which is comprised of a quad-core Cortex A15 CPU and a 72-core GeForce GPU. Nvidia claims that its SoC makes the Tegra Note “the world’s fastest 7-inch tablet”, but we’ll have to get our hands on the device to see if that holds true.

The tablet itself features a 7-inch 1280×800 IPS display, along with 16GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, and a 5-megapixel rear-camera. Nvidia has also included a micro HDMI connector, as well as front-facing stereo speakers similar to the HTC One. Better yet, the Tegra Note is running stock Android 4.3, so owners should get quick over-the-air updates whenever Google rolls out the latest version of the OS.

As the “Note” name implies, Nvidia is including a stylus with its tablet. Two tips are available for drawing – Chisel and Brush – and the company will be bundling several apps with the Tegra Note to take full advantage of the stylus, not unlike Samsung.

While Nvidia says the Tegra Note will sell for £180, it’s trying to position it as a platform rather than a full-blown retail product. Last year the company worked on Project Kai, an effort designed to drive down the cost of Tegra 3 for inclusion in cheaper tablets. Kai ultimately helped produce Google and Asus’s Nexus 7, and Nvidia is hoping for a repeat performance with the Tegra Note. The company says that Zotac and EVGA will both be producing their own versions of the Tegra Note that will differentiate themselves through specific features.

Still, it’s hard to ignore that asking price. The 2013 version of the Nexus 7 offers a higher-resolution display for just £20 more, and you’ll get direct updates from Google instead of Nvidia. The choice between the two, then, may come down to your tablet habits. If you mostly browse the web and watch videos, then the Nexus 7 is the clear choice. Gamers and doodlers, however, will probably prefer the Tegra Note.

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