Android tablets powered by NVIDIA’s upcoming quad-core processor, the Tegra 3 (codenamed “Kal-El”), may start becoming available before 2011 is over.

NVIDIA chief Jen-Hsun Huang told Forbes that the quad-core Android tablets may come this year, ahead of the quad-core smartphones that NVIDIA predicted earlier to reach markets this year.

The Tegra 3 SoC is supposed to be at least 200% faster

NVIDIA hopes to stay ahead of chief rival Qualcomm. The latter is reported to be releasing its own quad-core processors towards the end of the year.

Both NVIDIA and Qualcomm have been mainstays in the market for high-end smartphone processors. Qualcomm has been in the mobile technology game for years and has earned respect for its experience and expertise. NVIDIA, on the other hand, prides in sophisticated technology imported from its graphics processing unit (GPU) business, which pushed the company to the forefront in the industry.

“We’re the only people seriously on the dance floor with Qualcomm. We’re really the only two active players [in the high-end mobile processor market],” Huang told Forbes.

Earlier this year, Motorola was rumored to have been busy in its labs with a Motorola XOOM successor packed with Tegra 3. The quad-core tablet was rumored to be launched this fall.

Amazon’s 10.1-inch tablet, codenamed “Hollywood,” was also rumored to sport Kal-El and is reportedly already in production along with a smaller, 7-inch tablet, which will be named the Amazon Kindle. The smaller tablet was rumored earlier to sport a Tegra 2 processor. Recent reports suggest the Amazon Kindle will be coming out this November.

No leaks have emerged regarding the highly anticipated Asus Eee Pad Transformer 2, but it is said to be slimmer and with a more industrial design

ASUS has also been reportedly preparing a Tegra-3-packed successor to the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, a 10.1-inch tablet rumored to be the first one to carry the quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3.

The quad-cores are coming for Android tablets. For the meantime, Android smartphones will continue to compete with one another in the single-core and dual-core spaces.

Will a quad-core processor make you want to buy an Android tablet?

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