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NVIDIA reveals Kai: a $199 quad-core tablet project

May 23, 2012

We’ve seen a slew of low-cost Android 4.0 tablets flooding the market courtesy of some Chinese manufacturers. These devices, that fall in the $100 – $250 price range, are quite impressive in their own right, boasting impressive builds and form factors. The low-cost is thanks to compromises in display resolution, RAM (generally 512MB), cameras, processors (generally single core processors, or 1Ghz dual-core processors). Everything said and done, there is obviously something more attractive about a 1920×1200 display resolution with a 1.5 Ghz quad-core processor. That is, if you can ignore that $600+ price tag.

Will there ever be a way to produce and manufacture low-cost but high-speced devices? NVIDIA certainly seems to think so. At a recent shareholder meeting, NVIDIA Vice-President Rob Csonger revealed something called the “Kai” tablet project.

The Kai tablet project is an endeavor aimed at producing $199 quad-core tablets, and Csonger went on to explain that their strategy on Android is to enable quad-core tablets running Android Ice Cream Sandwich to be developed and brought to market at the $199 price point. He added that this project aims to develop powerful tablets at much lower costs by using a lot  of innovation developed by NVIDIA to reduce the power that is used by the display, while also using lower cost components found within a tablet.

The ASUS Memo 370T - To be the Google Nexus Tablet?

It’s still unclear whether the “Kai” tablet design is a reference to be used by NVIDIA partners to manufacture competitive low-cost products, or is a final product by itself, or both. Either way, the above image of the tablet is very similar to the much-hyped ASUS MeMo 370T tablet. First seen at CES 2012, there have since been rumors of the eagerly-awaited $250 quad-core 7″ tablet has been cancelled, to the disappointment of many. It now looks like this, or at least something similar, will now be back on the market in the form of “Kai.” With Google I/O right around the corner, this might also give us some information on what to expect from the Nexus tablet that is likely to be announced at the event.

We already know that the $200 price point is ideal and favored by Android users, if the success of the Amazon Kindle Fire is  to serve as any indication. If we can get our hands on a similarly-priced quad-core tablet, these devices should fly off the shelves!

What are your thoughts? How good does a low-cost quad-core tablet sound? Do you think the Nexus tablet will be one such device? Is the $500+ price tag for currently available high-end devices completely meaningless now? Let us know in the comments section below.