Nov 01 AT 2:21 PM Taylor Wimberly 32 Comments

First quad-core Tegra 3 phones to arrive in February?

ASUS Padfone

Which company will deliver the first quad-core Tegra 3 Android smartphone and when will it be available? I originally predicted it would happen this year, and it looked to be on track when NVIDIA unveiled Tegra 3, saying it would arrive in tablets by August with smartphones to follow by Christmas. Unfortunately that schedule was changed to tablets in October and smartphones in Q1 2012. We have yet to get our hands on the first quad-core Android device.

That should change soon enough. ASUS will launch their Transformer Prime on November 9, and today we learned their first quad-core smartphone should be available in February 2012. Digitimes is reporting that ASUS will launch the previously announced Padfone in February, which we expect will be powered by Tegra 3 and ship with Android 4.0.

ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih first revealed the Padfone at Computex in May. The first of its kind gadget allows users to “switch seamlessly between pad and phone for a user experience that best fits [their] activities.” The unique device was first slated for a holiday launch, but it appears that date was pushed back to make sure it shipped with the latest version of Android.

HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung also in the mix

NVIDIA said previously in a quarterly earnings call that they have a “whole lot of new design wins on Kal-El,” but we haven’t heard about too many rumored devices yet. Outside of the Transformer Prime, only some random ZTE tablet has been spotted in China. This year is already winding down, so it looks like we’ll have to wait ’till CES 2012 in January for the next big wave of product announcements.

Who might also be working on a Tegra 3 phone?

  • HTC: We normally think of HTC as exclusive with Qualcomm processors, but there are several signs that relationship is weakening. HTC already said NVIDIA-powered phones are possible in the future, and it appears 2012 will be the year that they start dual-sourcing processors as they continue to grow.
  • LG: The LG Optimus 2X was the world’s first dual-core phone. Earlier this year it looked like they could have the first quad-core phone. Since that time, we have heard no rumors of LG working on Tegra 3 devices. They source processors from just about every major semiconductor company, so we know they are willing to play with many platforms.
  • Motorola: Rumors from earlier this year said that Motorola was working on a pair of quad-core phones named Bullet and Jet, which were headed to Verizon in Q1 2012. Nothing has surfaced since that time, but Motorola was one of the early adopters of Tegra 2 phones.
  • Samsung: As big as they are, we always believe Samsung has the ability to deliver a “world’s first” type device. We know they like to use their own Exynos processor in their high-end devices, but they were forced to go with Tegra 2 in the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (it was the lead platform for Honeycomb tablets). Samsung also launched the Tegra-powered Galaxy R, so they have experience working with NVIDIA’s mobile platform.
Even though I’m currently a Samsung guy, I’d really like to see HTC branch out from Qualcomm and launch even more high-end devices. CES is just two months away, so we shouldn’t have to wait much longer for leaks about products that are headed to that show. Out of all the companies mentioned, which one would you like to see produce the first quad-core phone?

Source: Digitimes

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Anthony Domanico


    • Taylor Wimberly

      Yeah I just don’t see it happening with two new versions of Exynos coming out in 2012, but I’d love to be wrong.

  • spookz

    This makes to believe that they would be 2 nexus phones. The Galaxy Nexus and the ACTUAL Nexus Prime which would be Samsung. GSMarena’s articles comes to mind.

    • 666

      Doubt. No new nexus phone until next year. Maybe a Nexus tablet?

      • spookz

        maybe they might have one coming at CES 2012?


    I’m really excited about the graphics this thing will put out! It’s going to be the best 15 minutes of gaming EVER, before the battery is drained completely.

    • triangle

      I agree with this sentiment. As excited as I am about a quad core phone with higher processing power, I think improving battery life is much more important. Some of the new CPU designs seem to have this in mind with different cores serving different purposes, but I’ll be more excited about a phone with a dual core processor that improves battery life by 50% or more…

      • Gamecocks

        Droid razr maxx proved its possible. Hopefully the delay in these quad cores is a result of moto’s move to set a new battery standard. I thought my next phone would be a quad core, but if they aren’t sporting a battery similar/superior to the maxx I’ll be going that route. CPU power is worthless when the phone won’t power on.

  • thel0nerang3r

    I like the concept of using the table as the display for the phone on Tegra3, similar to the lapdock that moto did. However, most manufacturers don’t use the same location for the microUSB/dock port.. heck, the port locations vary withing models of the same manufacturer. So, let’s say you get blah with tegra3 and you buy the associated tablet above, what happens when you get blah2 with tegra4? your tablet adapter is now useless?

    Why can’t we get consistent dock/port locations so we can take accessories from one phone to the other?


    oh, and that just might have been the most awkward product announcement I’ve ever seen. #asus

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Jonney Shih is pretty awesome, right? I can’t wait to see him on stage at CES.

  • Nate B.

    Quad core is nice but it’ll be flop only of these manufacturers don’t utilize it well with awesome features, design, and OS. Tegra 2 wasn’t all that because it wasn’t utilized right by the manufacturers building around it. Its capable of so much. I’m talking about crazy graphics and game performance and beautiful detail. I hope they take advantage. With android manufacturers rush and think the internals alone do it all. Lets see how IC is when it hits tabs.

  • Darkseider

    Well assuming we see quad core phones in Q1 2012 that means by May/June 2012 they’ll be everywhere. YIPPIE!

  • Lucian Armasu

    One thing is for sure – you won’t be able to do that with a WP7 phone. But you can with an Android 4.0 phone, because the OS is exactly the same.

  • Jon Niola

    I question the need for this at this time to be honest. Seems to me that until we improve battery technology some more and the efficiency of the newer radio technologies such as LTE this is like a solution without a problem.

    • Darkseider

      Everyone questioned the need for dual core phones and yet they took off. Everyone questioned battery life and LTE and yet the battery life is fine. The same will hold true of the quad core phones as well. Not to mention that with the Tegra 3 Nvidia is taking a similar approach to the BIG.Little that ARM is going with by using a 5th low power core while the device is off for system maintenance and housekeeping and then switching to the full power cores when the device is in use and it is needed.

  • Brann

    This Tegra crap is so f****** stupid Tegra 2. Obsolete. Atrix 2 doesn’t even have the same processor.

    Root you’re stupid device and cheat.

  • Mark

    I remember all the hype surrounding dual core phones. How To say it was underwhelming, is to say the least. Until they start optimizing these things and researching battery technology the way they research processors, will we see any real improvements in our phones.

  • Daniel Fuller

    The padfone is hypnotizingly drool-worthy and so is the Kal-El platform’s power in general. However, dual-core will end up being the defacto standard for quite some time. I still see single core phones and tablets turning heads right now, don’t you? On top of that, I’ve fallen in love with the GS2 and its brethren. I probably will be going dual-core when the rest of the world is quad core. Go ahead, call me a dinosaur when you’re complaining of compatibility issues and I’m enjoying the cream of the crop of dual-core optimized browsers, gaming and multimedia apps.

    • Darkseider

      Well there will be no “dual core” optimized applications. OS and applications will be optimized for use on multicore SoCs whether it be dual or quad. It’s just a matter of how well the application author codes in support for multithreading as to how well it will perform on a multicore system.

  • Tico4674

    I would love to see Samsung with quad-cores but that will probably come later in 2012. My guess is that LG will be first to the market with a quad, but they better do a better job with quality control this time around. Hopefully they learned something from the g2x fiasco.

  • Ingo

    If Nvidia would release the drivers to enable reliable BlueTooth support on Cyanogenmod, I’d be all over padphone. Without that, no thanks.

  • kazahani

    Well crap, just when I had decided to go with the Nexus…

    Sometimes I wish they would stop and let me catch up once in a while…

  • WarDrake

    Quad Core phones are going to take off, but i’m still gonna be sticking with Samsung made phones regardless of who makes the first quad core one…

    Samsung has proven to be the best manufacturer, even HTC can’t displace it from there, but being as great as it is at making devices i doubt it’ll let much time go after the first Quad core is released and they release their first one.

  • Nathan

    I would love a quad core phone mostly a nexus but I don’t know if I can wait that long.

  • dreamdoggy22

    I would like to see HTC be the first to market with a quad core, but would be very surprised if they were.

  • charliethesuperturtle

    Nuff said

  • Richard Yarrell

    I would love to see HTC come out with the first quadcore device in 2012 but I really don’t think that will happen till June or August 2012 I might be wrong. Regardless of who does it I will just be happy for android as we move to quadcore that in it’s self would be very satisfying. How about a quadcore device with jellybean wonder who will accomplish that goal??

  • Adrian

    it’s a megazord. LOL

  • pritams

    padfone is actually pretty nice concept..

  • tet

  • plazma

    Personally I don’t see wht people fuss over battery life, if you want longer runtime bash in a bigger ebay battery, I would rather have a bigger heavier phone that can deal with pretty much anything than a piddly cell the phone came with to keep the weight and foot print down. As for quad core I really want native 1080p x264 4.1 decode, the tegra 2 really fell short in deliving this, I can’t wait for quadz to start rocking my world.