February 16, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Qualcomm plans to have its quad-core Krait available early 2012, and Texas Instruments hopes to have its quad-core OMAP 5 running in Christmas 2012. So how exactly is NVIDIA managing to get it’s four-core-powered Kal-El processor fast enough for it to possibly appear in devices in August 2011?
It seems the folks at NVIDIA value speed to market as much as they trumpet speed on their devices. I spoke with a couple of NVIDIA team members and they stressed how important it is for them to be early to the market. While it’s common for competitors to announce something and have it sent to manufacturers for development a year later, NVIDIA wants to shorten the period between announcement and delivery to consumers to a matter of months. When asked what’s the difference between Kal-El and the expected competition, Sridhar Ramaswarmy said “The fact that we have quad-core now.”
Being first is a trend NVIDIA is likely to continue. Tegra 2 was the first dual-core processor adopted by Android phone makers, and it appears that Tegra 3, 4, and 5 could do the same. Staff writer Michael wondered if NVIDIA should really highlight how quickly tablets could become irrelevant with their fast pace, but that’s the nature of tech according to people I spoke to today. The goal is to constantly deliver timely upgrades that improve processing power and reduce consumption.
Technology has shown that first isn’t always best, however. Qualcomm and TI will both have something to say when their quad-core processors are available, and they could ultimately prove to be the better option. But for NVIDIA, those companies don’t move fast enough to make those comparisons matter.
Here’s Sridhar Ramaswarmy explaining the basics and benefits of Project Kal-El.