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Nvidia touts Tegra with $99 handheld net tablet notion

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MWC Want an internet handheld for under $100? That's what Nvidia is promising, courtesy of its ARM-based system-on-a-chip family, Tegra.

Nvidia also used Mobile World Congress today to tell all that Google's Android runs on its new Tegra APX 2600 SoC - a possible basis for the next iPhone, it's said - thanks to "close work" between the chip maker, the online advertising company and the Open Handset Alliance.

Looking at the spec sheets for the two Tegra APX parts - there's a 2500 as well as the 2600 - there doesn't seem to be a great deal of difference between them and the Tegra 650 and Tegra 600 launched in the summer of 2008, at least not in terms of functionality.

Must be the speed and process used to fab the parts, then. But while Nvidia's happy to say the 600 and 650's ARM11 cores run at 650MHz and 750MHz, respectively, but it was more coy about the 2500 and 2600's ARM11 speeds.

In fact, while the 650 can do H.264 and VC-1 decoding at 1080p, the 2600 is limited to 720p. About the only thing the 2600 has that the others don't is "enhanced" Flash support.

Still, it's the 600 series you want if it's a sub-$100 MID you're after. It's a reference design worked up by Nvidia that has "full Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity", can do said 1080p and 720p video playback (screen permitting, of course), and run for "days of use between charges". It runs Windows CE rather than Android.

Nvidia hopes to have "the first Tegra 600 Series-based devices are expected to begin shipping in mid-2009" - which is exactly when it expects the "first Tegra APX-based devices" to ship too. ®

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