Nvidia says Kai platform will turn price tide for tablets

May 24th, 2012 by Nancy Owano in Technology / Hardware
Image credit: The Verge


Image credit: The Verge

(Phys.org) -- In March, Nvidia gave some signs that they were working to lower the cost of their Tegra 3 processors and they suggested consumers might see prices for Android tablets as low as $199. Connect the dots? At the company’s annual investors meeting last week, the dots connected and are making this week’s news. For those marking the history of the tablet, remember the date, May 21, 2012. That was this meeting date at Santa Clara, where Nvidia management told its audience what strategies and growth were on tap. Vice President of Investor Relations, Rob Csonger, did the tablet talking.

Nvidia wants to make its quad core Tegra system on a chip the catalyst to bring forth cheaply priced tablets at prices similar to those for reader tablets with limited specs.

Instead, from , the offering at the same price point, he said, would be more powerful Android 4.0 tablets. Moving forward, he said the Nvidia strategy is to enable quad-core tablets running Android Ice Cream Sandwich to be developed and brought to market at the $199 price point—and the way to do that was through a platform that Nvidia has developed, called Kai.

Nvidia’s platform advantage is that tablets can be put together at lower costs. Nvidia’s Kai platform is designed to provide a performance boost but without expensive internal components. The company is promoting Kai as the enabler for manufacturers to use cheaper parts within tablets without compromising on performance. Kai is also said to be a power saver by lowering the amount of power needed for a tablet’s display.

Nvidia watchers note that Kai is not a thing but a reference design or guidepost targeted for Android OEMs. Which vendors would care to participate in Nvidia’s plan? Company watchers point out that Asus is a likely player, since Nvidia and Asus teamed up at CES 2012 to introduce a quad-core tablet at $250, as an affordable Tegra 3 device. Another player in the tablet plan might be Google’s Nexus, according to reports. When contacted for names, an Nvidia source told a reporter simply that customers already were using the Kai platform to build Tegra 3 .

Nvidia, meanwhile, is making no secret over its thoughts about the future Windows RT platform.“The most exciting opportunity for us in the tablet space is a discontinuity and disruption that is going to occur in the PC world, which is the end of the Windows and Intel (Wintel) monopoly,” said Csonger. Microsoft is to release Windows 8 with a new capability, Windows RT, he added, “and the ability here to run Windows on ARM is a very big opportunity for Nvidia." Csonger was referring to Windows RT, the Windows to support Windows on ARM, as significant because, with Windows RT, Windows will no longer rely solely on Intel to run.

© 2012 Phys.Org

"Nvidia says Kai platform will turn price tide for tablets." May 24th, 2012. http://phys.org/news/2012-05-nvidia-kai-platform-price-tide.html