$99 NVIDIA Tegra MIDs in development; Android ported to Tegra

NVIDIA's Tegra platform is no stranger to show floors, but since each iteration gets better – and, they promise, closer to an actual release – we still have a soft-spot for the HD-handling uber-chipset.  This time around, NVIDIA have upgraded it to full 1080p playback on a connected HDTV; on the show floor they had a big-screen Samsung LCD showing full HD footage from a capacitive touchscreen reference device.  It'll eventually find its way into a $99 MID, or at least that's the plan: NVIDIA claim their combination of high performance and low power demands, plus the prebuilt Windows CE interface, means vendors require less time and less money to develop production devices.

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It's all thanks to the Tegra 600 Series computer-on-a-chip, which is capable of 720p and 1080p video playback, full WiFi and 3G connectivity – thanks to a partnership with ST-Ericsson – and days, rather than hours, of use between charges.  NVIDIA didn't announce any specific hardware partners planning $99 MIDs, but there are apparently prototypes in existence that took just eleven months from silicon to hardware.

NVIDIA have also slapped Android onto the Tegra platform – something which they're saying was the work of only a few weeks – which we'll eventually see in production form (economy allowing) in the shape of the Yulong N8 and IAC S2.  Both are in fact smartphones, though there's no release dates scheduled and all that were to hand at the show were non-functional prototypes.  As for the Android prototype itself, we had a brief hands-on with it but found it to be decidedly buggy: the capacitive touchscreen proved responsive, but then the software crashed.

According to NVIDIA, there's a lot of interest from manufacturers and carriers regarding the $99 Tegra MID platform, and they're currently playing matchmaker between suitable OEMs and networks.  We still won't quite believe it until we see an (unsubsidized) price tag on an authentic device, but Tegra still has the potential to change the mobile device market.