Tegra partner kicks into gear

Something may come of it

WHILE WE can’t really feel the love for Nvidia’s desktop and laptop graphics antics, we do see where Tegra-based netbooks can get consumers hot under the collar.

Tegra, being the orphaned little SoC that it is, hasn’t seen much action since it was announced back in February 2008. The first live demos of the unit – that we recall – took place at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona 2008, where the Green Goblin claimed the device could just go on and on for days on end without battery charges, much like an Nvidia fanboi.

The usual rounding-up of suspects ensued, with the company announcing several partnerships with major names in developing MID-like devices that would actually bring entertainment and enlightenment to the masses. Nothing really came of it.

Fast-forward a year and a half.

Today, reports have reached us that Mobinnova will be launching its renowned élan 3G smartbook – now known as ‘Beam’ – and, according to the company, it will be available around CES 2010.

The Beam will sport a Tegra 650 SoC running Windows CE and will run from 5 to 10 hours on a fancy 3-cell battery that slides down, props up the keyboard and reveals the interface ports on the back of the device, which include HDMI, by the way. It will have an integrated GeForce GPU to accelerate HD decode (720p) and Adobe Flash’s 10.1 support for Nvidia graphics acceleration might just make life a bit easier for users streaming HD video on-line (let’s also not forget Silverlight Mobile – although not as widely used as Flash – which also makes use of GPU acceleration under WinCE). This should make short work of Atom-based netbooks in most scenarios, because Atom has neither the CPU nor GPU horsepower to tap.

Mobinnova is currently negotiating with mobile operators to have it subsidized and sold on the cheap, if you hook up to a contract. Maybe, just maybe, something will come of this.S|A

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