NVIDIA Outs New Tegra Note Design For Low-Cost Tablets

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Thanks to a slew of leaks and early appearances NVIDIA’s newest Tegra 4-powered tablet design has never really been a secret, but the company has finally confirmed what it’s been working on for the past several months. What once was known as the Tegra Tab is now called the Tegra Note, a tablet hardware platform that NVIDIA hopes will add some much-needed oomph to the low-cost tablet space.

Here’s the long and short of it — NVIDIA’s Tegra Note design features a 7-inch display running at 1280×800, a quad-core 1.8GHz Tegra 4 chipset (with 72-core GeForce GPU), 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and microSD card slot. Easily the most interesting addition to the mix is the company’s DirectStylus tech, which also for pressure-sensitive stylus input without the need for pricey smart styli and integrated digitizers. Throw in some sweet, sweet unfettered Android (by way of NVIDIA sanctioned OTA updates) and you’ve got an interesting skeleton for bargain tablets.

You’re not actually going to be able to buy an NVIDIA-branded Tegra Note tablet, nor is NVIDIA actually making them. Instead, NVIDIA is making the Tegra Note reference design available to a global batch of OEMs and partners who want to run with it, meaning there’s a decent chance that the no-name tablet you uncle picks up a few months down the road will actually sport a bit of NVIDIA lineage.

In North America, NVIDIA has already partnered with PNY and EVGA (who are perhaps best known for their graphics cards — seeing a trend here?). They’re competent companies, but they’re definitely not established players in the tablet space so it’ll be interesting to see how far NVIDIA’s design work manages to take them. This will all sound a little familiar to a certain subset of gadget fiends since NVIDIA it showed off yet another reference design based on the Tegra 3 architecture back when that particular SoC was all the rage, but it’s a little surprising to see NVIDIA refrain from taking the Tegra Note to market itself when it’s been willing to take changes on even riskier niche devices like the Shield.

And with an expected retail price of about $199 (though that’s ultimately up to NVIDIA’s partners to determine) the Tegra Note makes for a curious entrant in a market that’s going to be overrun with top-tier, competitively priced tabs. Hell, we’re basically already there — for an extra $30 or so though, you’re thrust into world of higher resolutions displays and more RAM with the Nexus 7, and those who would gladly trade stock Android for a more curated experience may wind up eying the reportedly robust new Kindle Fires.

Of course, NVIDIA has plenty of other tablets to concern itself with these days. The company’s Tegra 4 is reportedly going to show up in Microsoft’s next-generation Surface RT tablet which should be revealed in detail come next week.