Is the Tegra Tab Nvidia’s first Android tablet?

August 9, 2013
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Rumors are swirling around Nvidia’s plans to enter the tablet market. The chipmaker might launch an entry-level 7-inch tablet called Tegra Tab, as well as a Tegra 5-powered model in 2014.

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The Shield, Nvidia’s Android-powered handheld gaming console, has just hit the stores to good reviews, and it looks that more consumer devices are coming from the Santa Clara chipmaker.

Seemingly out of the blue, a couple of unrelated reports that emerged in the last few days claim that Nvidia is working on its own tablet devices.

First, these two pictures emerged on Chinese language websites, along with speculation that Nvidia has teamed up with a company called Shenzhen Homecare Technology to manufacture the device.

From the two pics, we can tell that the “Tegra Tab” is a 7-inch device that supports stylus input, a micro-HDMI port, and features the distinctive dotted finish of the Nexus 7 (2012). According to Chinese sources, Shenzhen Homecare Technology has at least discussed a partnership with Nvidia, as proven by the recent appearance of an Nvidia China executive at a company event.

The Verge noted that Tegra Tab is a trademark that Nvidia filed for back in April.

The second source supporting the theory of an Nvidia tablet is Fudzilla, which claims it received news about the availability of such a device. Specifically, Nvidia is going to launch the device in the US and Canada first, with plans for a later expansion in Western Europe.

Sources also told Fudzilla that Nvidia is working on a higher end device equipped with a Tegra 5/Logan SoC, that could possibly launch in the first quarter of 2014. Considering that the Shield was unveiled at CES this year, it’s reasonable to believe that CES 2014 will host the launch of Nvidia’s Logan-powered tablet.

Nvidia can’t handle the heat in the mobile SoC business

So, what’s with this sudden interest in consumer electronics, from a company that was, for years, content with a behind the scenes role? Put simply, Nvidia can’t handle the heat in the mobile SoC business. Qualcomm is simply too strong right now, and other players are vying for second place, while Nvidia’s has been facing big issues in bringing competitive products to market.

Nvidia needs to find new and creative ways to promote and sell its silicon products, which explains why it put out the Shield and opened up its extensive GPU IP trove for licensing.

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