Transformer Prime detailed: 10-inch Super IPS+ display, 12-hour battery and quad-core Tegra 3, ships in December for $499
As if showing up in two of the first four reference devices for Windows on ARM wasn’t enough of an achievement for NVIDIA’s quad-core Kal-El superchip, it decided to visit us in person here at Computex to demonstrate its splendid graphical prowess. Running Android 3.1 on a 10-inch WVGA screen, it gave us a first-hand look at the Glow Ball demo that wowed us in video form just a couple of days ago. What we saw on the dev tablet before us was no less impressive; lighting was being rendered in real time and scattering all over a multiplicity of surfaces, while the cloth simulation was, to use a terrible pun, silky smooth. NVIDIA also ran us through a sightseeing tour of the Unreal Development Kit and Lost Planet 2, noting that the PC game took only a couple of months to port over to work on the Kal-El architecture. Unfortunately, no new details were forthcoming about when Kal-El devices might be coming or what developers we should expect to see coding games and other content to exploit the platform’s evidently mighty capabilities. For now, we’ll just have to sate ourselves with the video after the break.
You might think yourself too grown-up to be wowed by shiny, glittery things, but we doubt many will be able to watch NVIDIA’s new Glow Ball tech demo without a smidgen of childlike glee. Built to run on the company’s quad-core Kal-El processor, it shows us the first example of true dynamic lighting on mobile devices and also throws in some impressive physics calculations like fully modeled cloth motion. Instead of the pre-canned, static lights that we see on mobile games today, NVIDIA’s new hardware will make it possible to create lighting that moves, fluctuates in intensity, and responds realistically to its environment — all rendered in real time. The titular glow ball can be skinned with different textures, each one allowing a different amount and hue of illumination to escape to surrounding objects, and is directed around the screen using the accelerometer in your tablet or smartphone.
NVIDIA demoed the new goodness on a Honeycomb slate with 1280 x 800 resolution and the frame rates remained smooth throughout. In order to emphasize the generational leap that we can expect with Kal-El, the company switched off two of the four cores momentarily, which plunged performance down to less than 10fps. That means the simulations we’re watching require a full quartet of processing cores on top of the 12-core GPU NVIDIA has in Kal-El. Mind-boggling stuff. Glow Ball will be available as a game on Android tablets once this crazy new chip makes its way into retail devices — which are still expected in the latter half of this year, August if everything goes perfectly to plan. One final note if you’re still feeling jaded: NVIDIA promises the production chip will be 25 to 30 percent faster than the one on display today. Full video demo follows after the break.
We’ve heard an awful lot about a Windows tablet OS this past year, with stirrings of a 2012 launch — heck, even Steve Ballmer’s fanned the flames of speculation — and now the rumor mill’s been set in motion with word of an impending preview expected next week. According to Bloomberg, three sources have confirmed Microsoft’s plan to flaunt the much-anticipated UI, possibly at upcoming appearances at AllThingsD and Computex. The showcase is supposedly set to run the touchscreen-enabled software on a Tegra-equipped machine. We’d previously reported on stirrings of a June demo. Considering all the evidence that’s stacked up over the past few months, we’d say 2012 is looking like a rather practical target.