Nvidia’s Tegra K1 is the Heart of Google’s project Tango

It looks like Nvidia and Google are dancing partners again…

Nvidia Google K1 Tango Tablet

Google’s new project Tango developer tablet is powered by none other than Nvidia’s latest Tegra wonder chip, the K1. Announced back at CES 2014 Nvidia’s Tegra K1 has been available in limited quantities for developers through Nvidia’s Jetson development kit. Now the K1 is popping up in another development kit, this time from Google’s project Tango. The device is a seven-inch tablet with four gigs of RAM, 128 GBs of storage, a wide-angle front facing camera, a depth sensor, rear-facing camera, and a separate motion tracking camera. It’s designed to enable new use cases and experiences thanks to its specialized motion tracking hardware.

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For Nvidia this is an important design win because Google project Tango is the ultimate visual computing device. It enables a future where we can capture our surroundings and then digitally edit them or comment on them. The use cases for this device and the processing that needs to be done to support the depth, motion tracking, and multi-camera real-time recording features of this tablet are all excellent workloads to run on Nvidia’s Tegra K1. The genuine CUDA cores on the K1 are fully programmable and the raw power of the Nvidia’s hardware should allow developers to create some extremely compelling applications on this platform. With this design win Nvidia is asserting the strength of its mobile graphics IP and the power of its Tegra K1 SoC.

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With all of that said, it still a limited production run device that’s not meant for the general public. Concerns about the battery-life capabilities of Nvidia’s Tegra K1 persist, but at least in this application battery-life is more or less irrelevant given the market that this device is targeted to. If you want to pick one of these tablets up Google is now taking preorders on its website for an eventual release later this year. The price tag is $1024.

Google Tango Signup Page

Google is using Nvidia’s hardware to enable some really cool cutting edge experiences. Nvidia’s Tegra K1 may not be the right kind of chip to put into a phone, but it seems that Google believes that there is at least some merit to sticking one in tablet. The Tegra K1 is making some interesting in-roads to the tablet market, but it’s still too early to judge it overall market acceptance. But then again Tegra 4 set a pretty low bar that Nvidia’s Tegra K1 should be able to easily exceed.S|A

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Thomas Ryan is a freelance technology writer and photographer from Seattle, living in Austin. You can also find his work on SemiAccurate and PCWorld. He has a BA in Geography from the University of Washington with a minor in Urban Design and Planning and specializes in geospatial data science. If you have a hardware performance question or an interesting data set Thomas has you covered.