Last year, NVIDIA made a big splash at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with its Tegra 2 technology. This year, the chip maker has Tegra 3 chips in hot new tablet devices, including the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime – one of a growing number of convertible devices that were shown through CES 2012.
“Tablets are the fastest growing consumer electronics device in history,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, President, CEO and co-founder of NVIDIA. “Just as computerized technology has turned digital phones into smartphones, just as digital music has revolutionized music through technology, now tablets are changing the way people compute.” The first year of tablet sales saw 20 million devices sold to early adopters. The second year saw mainstream growth with over 60 million tablets sold. Part of that growth has come through Google Android tablets. While a quarter of all tablets sold in the first year were non-Apple iPad devices, the second year saw that figure rise to 40%. Part of that growth can also be attributed to NVIDIA’s powerful new chips, which are pushing both tablet and smartphone technology forward.
“Tablets are going to become a very large industry,” said Huang. “There’s a huge crossover between mobile devices and computing devices. This category is evolving in a way that other devices have over the years. Within the tablet market, some consumers will have mobile-centric experience, some people will use it for reading, some for entertainment and games. Some tablets have been designed for touch, while others use a digital pen. And more people are starting to enjoy a tablet and keyboard transformer-type device.”
Huang said last year, the Android tablet experienced a fragmented market with smartphones using Gingerbread and tablet devices running on Honeycomb. Honeycomb became an ecosystem of its own. It was related to Android but not the same.
“Google solved that problem with Ice Cream Sandwich, which turns all Android devices into one single platform,” said Huang. “Whether you have a 10-inch, 7-inch, 5-inch folio, slider, or smartphone device, they’re all part of the Ice Cream Sandwich platform.”
There are over 250 million Android devices in the market today with 700,000 new activations a day, providing an enormous base for content developers. Game developers can now target this one, cohesive user base. Developers are currently launching 14,000 new Android apps a month.
Huang showed ShadowGun, a first-person shooter designed for Tegra tablets. He showcased the visuals, which had never been achieved before on a tablet shooter.
“ShadowGun looks like a console game, and players can play it in a multiplayer setting,” said Huang.
A live demo of four players engaging in multiplayer action followed. Pro gaming legend Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendell was one of the four players demonstrating the game.
Wendell then proceeded to play Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on a tablet, streaming the game off the PC version of Bethesda Softworks’ hit game.