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Nvidia’s processor roadmap revealed: Quad-core Tegra 3 coming 2011, codenamed Kal-El

Nvidia has announced that its next-gen quad-core processor, presumably to be called Tegra 3, will be arriving in devices this year. The chip maker is already showing it off on Android 3.0 devices; above is a snap of a development model tablet running the game History Channel: Great Battles.

The video we saw didn’t look that much different to that which was demoed by Google at its recent Honeycomb event. But Nvidia also said that the engineer who put the video together had only had 24 hours of hands on time with the chip, and that we can expect higher frame rates and greater levels of detail in the future.

Tegra 3-powered tablets will be able to run videos and games at an eye-melting 1440p, and support display resolutions of 2560 x 1600 – something which Nvidia is calling ‘Extreme HD’.

For reference, Tegra 2 devices offer 1080p video playback. So if you’ve seen a Motorola Xoom in action and have been impressed by it’s video quality, you can only imagine what Tegra 3 devices will be capable of.

Nvidia also showed us its roadmap for future chipset releases, all of which appear to have been given superhero codenames.

The Tegra 3 (or whatever it’ll end up being called) has been named ‘Kal-El’ aka Superman by developers. The one after that is codenamed ‘Wayne’ (as in Bruce), and the following two are called ‘Logan’ and ‘Stark’.

Interesting to note that the chips named after Marvel characters are more powerful than the ones with the DC names. Is Nvidia really suggesting that Wolverine is more powerful than Superman?

Codenames aside, we were also told to expect to see Tegra 3-powered devices in the shops by December, with production due to begin in August.

Nvidia’s roadmap also shows that they plan to release new chipsets on a regular, annual basis up to 2014, when the Stark (Tegra 6?) should be out.

With 12 month contracts soon to become mandatory in the UK, we can imagine people timing phone upgrades around releases of the next lot of Tegra phones, kind of like people waiting for the next iPhones almost certainly will.

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