Tag Archives | Nvidia

Tegra 2 Phones and Tablets Will Get Playstation Suite

When Sony announced its next-generation portable gaming device in January, it also took out an insurance policy with Playstation Suite, a gaming service for Android smartphones.

Smartphone gaming gives Sony a backup plan in case its fancy, dedicated gaming device falls flat, but until now, we haven’t known which devices will run Playstation Suite besides Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Play (a.k.a. the Playstation phone).

Enter Nvidia, which says it’ll bring Playstation Suite to Tegra 2-powered smartphones and tablets this year. Nvidia announced the news (via Engadget) in its “TegraZone” Android app, a spotlight for games that take advantage of the Tegra 2 hardware.

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AMD Goes the Open Route With HD3D

AMD thinks the best way to assemble a stereoscopic 3D PC gaming rig is to pick all the parts yourself.

To that end, the chipmaker is launching HD3D, an answer to NVidia’s 3D Vision technology that takes an open approach to software and hardware support. AMD already supports 3D in some of its graphics cards, but HD3D is more of a philosophy for how AMD will treat the technology. And for the most part, that philosophy comes down to the kind of glasses you’ll use.

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5Words: Nvidia’s Graphics Technology Permits Switching

Nvidia’s new switchable graphics technology.

Windows 7 battery problem? Nope.

Droid gets Android 2.1 update.

Redact that tweet, Journal editor.

iPhone gets memory card adapter.

What’s Shigeru Miyamoto working on?

Nexus one feature: phone support!

Nexus One double-life battery.

Publishers score e-book pricing victories.

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Nvidia Offers a Taste of Tablets to Come

Laying unceremoniously towards the end of Nvidia’s booth at a press event tonight was an early prototype of the Ultra, an Android 2.0 tablet developed by ICD.

It’s the same tablet (or slate — I’m as baffled as Harry by the terminology shift) that appeared briefly, of all places, on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, a 7-inch tablet with all the trimmings: Wi-Fi, 3G, Webcam, MicroSD slot, 4 GB of internal memory and, of course, Nvidia’s formidable Tegra chip. An Nvidia representative promised more and better tablets at the company’s booth tomorrow, but I had to take a stab at this one tonight.

The Ultra was a bit buggy, which explains why Nvidia wasn’t making a big deal of it. As soon as I picked it up, it crashed. Then it took a while to load up. Then the touch screen acted a bit dodgy. And yet, I walked away excited.

What most impressed me was the tablet’s speed and smoothness. Maybe it’s the iPhone effect, but lately I’ve become obsessed by this sort of thing. And because I’ve never seen Android running so smoothly — even the Nexus One phone on display elsewhere at the event showed some choppiness — using the Ultra was a pleasure. A 1080p version of Star Trek played without a stutter, and the e-reader function flipped nimbly between pages.

We don’t yet know what Apple has in store — or for that matter, whether Apple has anything in store at all — but even if it’s something completely surprising, I could get comfortable with Tegra and Android as purveyors of working class tabletslates. We’ll see what else is in store tomorrow.

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The FTC Sues Intel

Last month, Intel and AMD settled their differences with an agreement that ended the long-running legal battle between the world’s largest CPU maker and its much smaller rival. Today, Intel is in hot water with an organization far more powerful than AMD: the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is suing the company, accusing it of abusing its dominating market position to stifle competion. And the most interesting parts of the FTC’s list of complaints involve not CPUs but GPUs. Which is not a market that Intel controls in the least–Nvidia and AMD dominate discrete graphics, and Intel was recently forced to indefinitely delay its Larrabee GPU.  But the FTC says that Intel makes it difficult for PC manufacturers to choose Nvidia or AMD graphics options by charging them higher prices for CPUs than if they opt for Intel’s less powerful integrated graphics.

Here’s Intel’s response to the suit, in which it says it was on the verge of a settlement with the FTC, and that it’s the victim of a rush to judgment.

I don’t know enough about the backstory to have an opinion of the specifics of the FTC’s charges, and I like free markets more than government interference, but this I know: Consumers benefit when there are multiple healthy competitors in a category. If PC manufacturers make technology decisions based primarily on fear of Intel–which is what the FTC claims–it’s not good for anybody except Intel.


Nvidia Tegra in Next Nintendo DS? So?

nvidia-tegra-2As with any hot gaming rumor, I’m compelled to write about the reports of an Nvidia Tegra chip in Nintendo’s next DS handheld. But deep down inside, I don’t really care.

Unless Nintendo is changing the way it approaches gaming consoles, the underlying technology doesn’t matter as much as the big picture. The Wii staked its reputation on motion controls, not current-generation graphics or processing power. Same goes for the Nintendo DS, which is all about combining a touch screen and traditional button-based gaming on a handheld device.

Besides, the current-generation DS already packs in respectable graphics, and some of the console’s greatest games wouldn’t have benefited from a boost. For instance, the Phoenix Wright series uses 2D animation, never getting in the way of your touch-based sleuthing. New Super Mario Bros. has 3D flourishes, but what really draws people in is the game’s old-school roots. And then there’s Brain Age, which is so simple that I fail to see how a beefer processor and better graphics would improve the experience.

My point is that it’s about the games, not the hardware, and from my experience the Nintendo DS hasn’t suffered from technological constraints.

In any case, I don’t expect Nintendo to move on from its current-generation DS and DSi anytime soon. They continue to sell phenomenally well, with 552,900 units moved in North America alone in August. That’s actually a 6 percent increase from same the period in 2008, and four times more sales than Sony’s PSP.

Continued sales mean that people are going to stay interested in the current-generation Nintendo DS, and all the games it supports, for years to come. If Nintendo does upgrade the DS to a better chip, I won’t be the only one who could care less.


New Tech Still on Tap for 2009

[A NOTE FROM HARRY: Here’s a post by Mari Silbey, one of Dave Zatz’s Zatz Not Funny colleagues. We’ll be borrowing some of her ZNF items along with Dave’s–welcome Mari!]

In Store for 2009We have yet to hit the holiday shopping season, so you know there will still be plenty of gadget goodness before the year ends. However, there’s also some new behind-the-scenes tech to get excited about in 2009. Here are four enabling technologies to watch out for in the next four months. This tech may not be sexy, but it’s guaranteed to make those shiny gadget toys work better, smarter, faster.


Since my netbook is clearly not cutting it for a lot of video playback, I’m psyched about new processors making their way into netbooks and small laptops in Q4. Most likely to actually hit the commercial market this year is the NVIDIA ION chipset, which is said to boost graphics power significantly in any Intel-Atom-powered device. According to Brad Linder over at Lilliputing (also heard as afternoon anchor on my local NPR station), two major manufacturers, Lenovo and Samsung, are planning to ship ION-powered laptops in the last few months of the year. And, Brad speculates that the upcoming Nokia netbook, the Booklet 3G, may also sport NVIDIA ION graphics. More info to come at Nokia World on September 2nd.

USB 3.0

If you’re into transferring a lot of media between devices, then the launch of USB 3.0 is right up your alley. Unlike USB 2.0, which transfers data at a rate of 480 Mbps, USB 3.0 boasts a whopping transfer speed of 4.8 Gbps. That’s not just good for moving HD video around, it’s also perfect for large back-up operations to an external hard drive. According to Stacey Higginbotham at GigaOM, USB 3.0 will start shipping to device-makers this year, with consumer availability soon to follow.


I know, I know, it’s cool to be down on WiMAX these days, but I’m still excited for it to spread to more cities (including my own Philadelphia) this year. Partly I’m excited about the higher speeds for mobile broadband, but partly I’m excited because of the different pricing options compared to existing 3G services. For example, my employer is unlikely to subsidize mobile broadband at $60 per month, but a $10 day pass is a good bet for reimbursement. Perfect for conferences, and other places where Wi-Fi tends to be lacking. Even an unlimited mobile contract is said to be only $50 per month. (See pricing coverage from Paul Kapustka at Sidecut Reports) That’s a better price and a faster connection.

Upstream Channel Bonding

And while we’re on the subject of broadband speeds, here’s an obscure one: upstream channel bonding. Channel bonding is what’s making it possible for cable operators to offer peak DOCSIS 3.0 speedsof 50-100 Mbps in some markets. To date we’ve only seen downstream channel bonding in the US, but upstream channel bonding is on its way. Karl Bode at Broadband Reports wrote earlier this month that Comcast is exploring upstream DOCSIS 3.0 trials this year, with upstream speeds maxing out at 120 Mbps.

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