Tegra-based laptops coming later this year

Tegra-based laptops will offer high-definition video playback and long battery life, Nvidia says

Laptops and handheld computers based on Nvidia's Tegra computing platform will hit the market before the end of this year, the company said Tuesday.

Built around an Nvidia graphics processor and two Arm processor cores, Tegra packs nearly every component required for a computer on a motherboard that's slightly bigger than a stick of chewing gum.

It also encodes a hardware encoder and decoder for full high-definition video playback.

Tegra consumes less than half a watt of power, allowing devices that use it to run for many hours on a single battery charge, even while remaining constantly connected to a cellular data network, said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of Nvidia, speaking at the Computex exhibition in Taipei.

"With the proliferation of 3G mobile networks, it's now perfectly clear that computing technology and communications will converge," Huang said.

This is the second time that Nvidia has "launched" Tegra at Computex. Last year, the company showed a working prototype of a Tegra board.

The prototype board was shown running inside an Asustek Computer Eee PC that had its original motherboard removed.

This time around, Nvidia had Tegra-based computers to show off instead of a mockup.

In all there were seven prototypes on display, including models from contract hardware makers Compal Communications, Inventec and Wistron, among others.

These systems will cost around US$199 when they hit the market and could be as cheap as $99 if the price is subsidized by a mobile operator, Nvidia said.

They will hit the market at roughly the same time as systems based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor, a rival chip that also uses an Arm processor core.

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