Nov 09 AT 12:48 AM Taylor Wimberly 46 Comments

3 reasons to get a Tegra 3 Android device this year

Tegra 3

Are you ready for the upcoming wave of next-generation Android devices? After many months of waiting, NVIDIA has officially announced their Tegra 3 processor, previously known as Project Kal-El. We first learned of this quad-core beast back in February and were expecting devices by summer, but unknown delays pushed that back to the end of this year. Now we are just weeks away from getting our hands on the first quad-core tablet. Was it worth the wait? Read on for the top 3 reasons to get a Tegra 3 device.

1. Games

NVIDIA practically invented the GPU so the first thing we always think about with any Tegra processor is games. The Tegra 2 processor already delivered the best graphics we have ever seen on any Android device and Tegra 3 is prepared to take that to the next level.

As we have previously noted, Tegra 3 features a 12-core GeForce GPU that promises to deliver 3x the graphics performance of Tegra 2. NVIDIA previously showed off the power of the new GPU with their Glowball demo and today they have released a follow-up called Glowball 2 (see video above).

All that graphics power is cool to show off in demos and benchmarks, but NVIDIA has invested heavily in bringing premium games to Android with their Tegra Zone program. Right now there are over 15+ Tegra 3 games under development and 40+ Tegra Zone games will be available by end of 2011. I only count 23 games available in Tegra Zone right now, so we should see another 20 new games by Christmas.

In addition to the raw power of the GPU and wide developer support, Tegra 3 will also include several other features specifically for gamers.

  • Broad game controller support: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Logitech, and more
  • Experience 3D games: Leverages NVIDIA’s award-winning 3D Vision technology. Works with 3D monitors or 3D TVs (via HDMI v1.4)
  • 10 foot UI control: Connect to the big screen for true console experience. Navigate standard Android menus
We will dive into some of the upcoming games with a future post, so head over to NVIDIA’s site and read up on 3D Vision in the mean time.

2. Performance

The other key area where we expect Tegra 3 to shine is performance. With double the cores, higher clock speeds, and faster memory, Tegra 3 will deliver up to 5x performance boost over Tegra 2. NVIDIA actually calls the Tegra 3 a “PC-class CPU” and says it’s faster than an Intel Core 2 Duo T7200.

Tegra 3 will deliver the fastest web experience, fastest applications, and fastest multi-tasking of any mobile processor. Accelerated Adobe Flash Player 11, HTML5 and WebGL browsing, and an optimized Javascript engine work together to deliver an experience that is up to 4x faster than the competition.

Two specific applications that will benefit the most from the quad-core CPU are photo stitching and video transcoding. We haven’t seen many advanced apps for photo and video editing yet, but Photoshop Touch is on the way along with multiple other new apps from Adobe.

3. Battery life

Finally, the third area to focus on with Tegra 3 is battery life. NVIDIA implemented a stealth 5th-core and their patent-pending Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (vSMP) technology to deliver up to 61 percent lower power consumption in certain use cases. This translates into an industry-leading 12 hours of battery life for HD video playback.

The upcoming ASUS Transformer Prime will deliver up to 12 hours of battery life, compared with 9.5 hours on the original. It will be interesting to see what kind of battery life the Tegra 3 smartphones get, but we should expect similar results.


It’s been a long time coming, but overall we are still extremely impressed with Tegra 3. NVIDIA could have moved a ton of units if they got this out back in August, but I expect it will still have a nice run. There are always faster mobile processors just around the corner, but Tegra 3 will shine as a true mobile gaming console.

Tegra 3 overview.

I’m definitely going to be picking up the Transformer Prime for Christmas and I can’t wait to see the first Tegra 3 phones early next year. We have already seen NVIDIA gain some new customers with Tegra 3 like HTC, and I expect we will find this quad-core CPU in all kinds of different devices.

So now we return to the waiting game and see what other devices get announced. I have a feeling CES 2012 will be NVIDIA’s biggest show yet and I’m excited to see what kinds of products their customers dreamed up.

How do you think Tegra 3 will perform in the market?

For additional coverage, check out: Android Police, Android Central, Android Community, AnandTech, Droid-LifeEngadgetPhandroidThe Verge, and Wired.

Show Press Release

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–Nov. 8, 2011– NVIDIA today ushered in the era of quad-core mobile computing with the introduction of the NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, bringing PC-class performance levels, better battery life and improved mobile experiences to tablets and phones. The world’s first quad-core tablet with the Tegra 3 processor is the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime.

Known previously by the codename “Project Kal-El,” the Tegra 3 processor provides up to 3x the graphics performance of Tegra 2, and up to 61 percent lower power consumption. This translates into an industry-leading 12 hours of battery life for HD video playback.
The Tegra 3 processor implements a new, patent-pending technology known as Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (vSMP). vSMP includes a fifth CPU “companion”, specifically designed for work requiring little power. The four main cores are specifically designed for work requiring high performance, and generally consume less power than dual-core processors.

During tasks that require less power consumption — like listening to music, playing back video or updating background data — the Tegra 3 processor completely shuts down its four performance-tuned cores and, instead, uses its companion core. For high-performance tasks — like web browsing, multitasking and gaming — the Tegra 3 processor disables the companion.

“NVIDIA’s fifth core is ingenious,” said Nathan Brookwood, Research Fellow at Insight 64. “Tegra 3’s vSMP technology extends the battery life of next-generation mobile devices by using less power when they’re handling undemanding tasks and then ratcheting up performance when it’s really needed.”

The Tegra 3 quad-core CPUs are complemented with a new 12-core NVIDIA GeForce® GPU, which delivers more realism with dynamic lighting, physical effects and high resolution environments, plus support for 3D stereo, giving developers the means to bring the next generation of mobile games to life.

For the millions who play games on mobile devices, the Tegra 3 processor provides an experience comparable to that of a game console. It offers full game-controller support, enabling consumers to play games on their tablet or super phone, or connect to big screen HDTVs for a truly immersive experience. It also leverages NVIDIA’s award-winning 3D Vision technology and automatically converts OpenGL applications to stereo 3D, so consumers can experience 3D on a big screen 3D TV (via HDMIâ„¢ 1.4 technology).

The Tegra 3 processor provides the industry’s….

  • Fastest web experience – with accelerated Adobe Flash Player 11, HTML5 and WebGL browsing, and an optimized Javascript engine
  • Fastest applications – with blazing performance for multimedia apps, such as photo and video editing
  • Fastest multitasking — for switching between common uses, such as playing music and games, and background tasks
  • Fastest, highest-quality gaming — including new Tegra 3 processor-optimized NVIDIA Tegra Zone app games such as Shadowgun, Riptide GP, Sprinkle, Big Top THD, Bladeslinger, DaVinci THD and Chidori.

Highlights / Key Facts:
The Tegra 3 processor redefines power consumption and mobile-computing performance with:

  • The world’s first quad-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU
  • New patent-pending vSMP technology, including a fifth CPU core that runs at a lower frequency and operates at exceptionally low power
  • 12-core GeForce GPU, with 3x the graphics performance of the Tegra 2 processor, including support for stereoscopic 3D
  • New video engines with support for 1080p high profile video at 40 Mbps
  • Up to 3x higher memory bandwidth
  • Up to 2x faster Image Signal Processor
  • 40 games are expected to be available by the end of 2011, and over 15 Tegra 3 games are under development for Tegra Zone, NVIDIA’s free Android Market app that showcases the best games optimized for the Tegra processor.
  • The Tegra 3 processor is in production. Developers can order the Tegra 3 Developer Kit to create applications for devices with Tegra such as tablets and super phones, at


  • “The Eee Pad Transformer Prime is a category-defining product. Powered by Tegra 3, it launches us into a new era of mobile computing, in which quad-core performance and super energy-efficiency provide capabilities never available before. With Transformer Prime, ASUS has once again led the industry into the next generation.” - Jen-Hsun Huang, President and Chief Executive Officer, NVIDIA
  • “Tegra 3 is a marvel. Its quad-core CPU, 12-core GeForce GPU and vSMP technology are revolutionary. We worked closely with NVIDIA to build the ultimate tablet — the Eee Pad Transformer Prime — that delivers a magical, uncompromised experience to consumers.” - Jerry Shen, CEO at ASUS

Source: NVIDIA

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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  • LIeutenant

    this article is perfect.

    • Conclusion

      Flash is dead, Android is dead

      • Dale

        Are you pissed because your Icrap phone is now history?

        • Daniel

          The iPhone is far from dead. It’s got a lot of third party stuff going on for it and it’s still hands-down the best OS for “end-users”. I’m an Android geek myself and I’m still jealous of DMC4, Resident Evil 2, Sonic 4 and Songify on iPhone. Plus, my visually impaired fiancee is soon dumping her Evo for a 4S just because of the three-finger double tap to zoom in the entire screen feature. Now THAT needs to be ported!

          • applesuxdonkeyd!k

            its still an igay and google needs to pull a crapple move and sue them for stealing the notifications feature

  • Tegra 3

    My question is

    Who will be the first to shoot themselves in their foot rushing into releasing Tegra 3 phone without optimization and fail miserably?

    This reminds me of LG Optimus X2 and Motorola Atrix and Xoom Tab…. we will see

    Oh and will HTC still be one step behind again just because they are in bed with Qualcomm? Mostly likely, but will it pay off waiting for Qualcomm’s progress? depends on S4 cheap’s performance I guess.

    and will Sony Ericsson release another Experia Play with a year old cheap set? this time maybe they will use Tegra 2??? come on SE you make beautiful design but please keep the cheap set up to date…..

    Lastly, will Samsung come up with next gen Exynos which will crush every other cheap set in performance?…besides antenna compatibility such as LTE???? and end up going with Qualcomm and bring fragmentation within their own flagship line up??? please don’t do that again….


    Nope, I am getting the new Nexus. And it will only be replaced by next Nexus.

    Thank you Nvidia, but you have to do better to be selected as Nexus device cheap set.

    • Arnold

      Dude, get a girlfriend and chill.

    • Richard Yarrell

      This guy reminds me of the other (2) dummies Mr. squiddy20 and snowbdr89 bunch of gays…

      • squiddy20

        Haha, Everything reminds dick yarrell of squiddy. Wow that’s sooooo smarty. You should win a prize of best arguments in town. I mean… That must have demanded a lot of thought from you…

    • ZRod

      Stop. Saying. Cheap set! Jeeze…

      • Tegra

        lol……omg I can’t believe I did that….. sorry I was kinda sleepy

    • Brandon Peters

      “cheap set” he said it more than once so it can’t be a mistake, and if it’s sarcasm, it’s a fail, this opinion should be thoroughly rejected on those points alone…

  • poosh2010

    this all just sounds way too good to be true. I can’t wait for the first tegra 3 phones/tabs to be released so we can actually test these claims!

    First I was excited about the galaxy nexus, now it’s the tegra3 and krait cores. There’s always so much to look forward to with android. It must suck to be an apple fanboy!

  • cheeto

    Not intereted in what it can do but how it performs in day to day tasks. Even with it being quadcore will it be able to perform as smooth as the iphone?

    • Ap

      Seeing how my galaxy s first generation is as smooth as an iphone running miui, I think you ought to close your mouth. We’re tired of that smoothness thing apple fanboys, bring us some innovation into arguments.

  • roshan_beta

    Transformer Prime or PS vita?? which is better for gaming purposes?

    • Dale Bebeau

      Let me answer your question with a question. Which has 5 cores? ‘Nuff said.

      • NobodyImportant

        Doesn’t matter. Tegra 3 is still inferior GPU wise (just slightly though) to the Powervr SGX543mp2 GPU found in the iPad 2. The Vita is roughly twice as fast as that, rocking the SGX543mp4 quad core variant, and that’s not even taking into account it’s low level access optimization, 128mb dedicated vram, and the Vita’s lower screen resolution.

    • Dirge

      I’d say Vita. Bigger library of games and more portable.

    • Zhi Hao

      The Vita. See this article by Anandtech:

      Then multiply the performance of the PowerVR SGX543MP2 by more than 2X. That’s the Vita.

      As for the number of cores, that isn’t as important for games. The GPU is the most important, and will Tegra 3 offers good performance, it still isn’t as fast as PowerVR’s newer offerings.

      • Lucian Armasu

        If you read Anand’s whole article, you’ll see that even though it scores 7x in benchmarks, it can still deliver only up to 2.3x FPS compared to previous iPhone. So I wouldn’t base my decision on which GPU is best solely on a synthetic benchmark that might or might not cover what Nvidia’s GPU is good at. I’ve already seen a game or two that look better graphically than the Infinity Blade 2 that was demo-ed on stage at iPhone 4S event.

        • jonehi

          Both the vita and the 3ds have PHYSICAL keys. Even if these tegra 3 monsters were 5x as powerfully I would still say 3ds/vita (or both). The question isn’t ” what has more cores” the real question is what has better controls what’s going to feel better in your hands.

          I have a Acer icona, a 3ds, and (soon) a vita.if its for games go with the pros

          • I didn’t know what to put

            This has broad gamepad support. I think we can even use console controllers.

  • Team?

    Trolololol more unecessary hardware bumps! Effin Android needs to get the software issues ironed out first.

  • enki

    Definitely wtb t3 tablet. Under 350g (even if this means a inch smaller display). Non-gay design (call it executive if you want).
    Thank you

  • Team?

    You nerds will never learn… Smart phones will NEVER replace PC/Laptops… In the end they will be what they are… PHONES!

  • Giuseppe Miozza

    Really nice Article!!

  • Richard Yarrell

    This is wonderful 2012 will be another great year…

  • Slith

    I can’t wait. I’ll be pre-ordering a Transformer Prime ASAP, but I would still like to know the story behind the delays. Was it NVIDIA or Google? I’m leaning towards Google since it appears Asus will ship with 3.2. Did they just get tired of waiting?

  • WarDrake

    One word…

  • crickerman

    “Broad game controller support: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Logitech, and more”

    native support? nice…

  • RevSpaminator

    “NVIDIA practically invented the GPU”

    I like the look of the Tegra but my old Atari 800 was testament that someone else probably invented the GPU. :)

  • JoeJoe509

    Ugh. I’m so sick and tired of the “next best thing is just around the corner!”. I’m sick and tired of feeling like a noob two months after I buy the latest and greatest thing out there. I’m going to purchase my Galaxy Nexus and never read these tech sites for another two years when my upgrade is again available. I’m so done.

    To me, the most exciting part is that I might have a pretty badass tablet around this time next year. I will not be an early adopter for this crap and come out a loser. I’m going to let these quad-cores marinate in the market for 6mos and see where we’re at. I’m sure by then Samsung will have a flippin’ brilliant Galaxy Tab with HD super thin flexible OLED (1080p?) screens and quad core Exynos processors for the 2012 Holidays. I’m going to wait for ICS to be fully optimized for tablets/quad cores or even Jelly Bean if it’s available.

  • Rising33

    I for one will wait till the tegra 3 devices come out. I already have an awsome phone that keeps up with the best of them.. Sensation. Now if your someone who has a three yr old phone and ur contract is up then get one of those new phones coming out this holiday season. As for me my phone will carry me just fine till next spring without a problem. I mean why jump into a Nexus or a Galaxy SII when there isnt that much of a difference specs wise. Now dont get me wrong people. I would love to get my fingers on some of the new phones to test out some of the new features hardware wise, which arent much but still there. But I think two of the biggest jumps in developement would 1. Quadcores and 2. Ice Cream Sandwhich…. And at any moment soon down the road I will be able to try ICS thanks to the devs out there. Though this doesnt apply to the general public. So like I said… I could wait a little and it will be worth it.

  • Tal

    I tend to disagree. I am more interested in form factor than in the strength of the gorilla.
    Well maybe because I don’t play. But for those who don’t play much, form factor is now more important.
    I want the bezel to GO AWAY. I want something that I can carry easily with me. Maybe have 6.5″ instead of 7″ without bezel for the small tablets, and definitely lighter when getting to the 10″.

  • Nathan

    Want on so bad but I have to wait though like everyone else.

  • Postal Jim

    The most impressive thing mentioned here was the battery usage. Hopefully this is the first step to resolving our Android power hogs. The one and ONLY thing I miss about my iCrapple 3GS is that the battery drained slow(er) and charged fast.

    Forget 12 MP cams, Jelly bean, flexible, curved, gorilla screens, voice commands, etc. Fix the freaking battery drains, THEN you can continue to make Android the snowballing goliath that killed the Jobless Apple Fanboys.

  • Androidcrazed6

    can someone help on deciding to get the nexus if and once it comes on sprint or the iphone 4s

    i like the nexus but i have to say the plasticy naure is a huge drawback for me also not as many games such as infinity blade 2

    i also lik the iphone but android 4.0 is superior to ios 5 in aspects of features

    i can also wait for more 4.0 devices on sprint but i have an outdated phone and realy hoping to get a new one

    btw i will be playing games about 80% of the time and 20% watching videos and web browsing

  • Tegra 3

    Who is looking forward to the Tegra 3? Quad core processors now coming to smartphones in 2012. Visit for the lastest info.

  • Shepard

    Do people take androidandme to stand for Android&itroll?

  • ToonPanda

    Flaming comments flying around… Everybody should buy what they prefer, blogs and sites like this one are perfect to form your view on all the devices. I’m convinced that this is a huge step forward in Android devices! I’d buy one this instant if I had too much money lying around :)

  • Player

    enough said
    the vita had better gpu.
    Tegra 3 has better CPU .

  • pritams

    well said..

  • Robert J. Gonzalez

    NVIDIA practically invented the GPU

    Lets be honest here. 3DFX “practically invented the GPU,” Nvidia came along later.

  • Anonymoooooose

    The fift companion core is a fail – but ill still buy teg3 stuff :)

  • guest

    Nvidia Tegra 3 for Android gaming & Sony Playstation Vita for handheld gaming :)