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Quad-Core Android Tablets Expected in Time for Christmas

Nvidia's CEO says manufacturers are working on tuning and performance and their designs

They’re a bit late, but Android tablets with quad-core processors are coming this year, according to Jen-Hsun Huang, Nvidia’s chief executive. The chipmaker expects Android tablets supercharged with quad-core chips to hit shelves in time for Christmas, according to a Wall Street Journal report, but smartphones powered by these chips are unlikely to show up until next year.

Nvidia’s quad-core chips, first announced in February, are meant to be twice as fast the company’s Tegra 2 processor, currently found on around two-thirds of Android tablets from Motorola, LG and Toshiba. The new breed of tablets was supposed to arrive this summer, but Nvidia’s chief executive said manufacturers are taking their time “getting the industrial design as wonderful as possible, and some of it is related to tuning and performance.”

However, there is another reason why quad-core Android tablets are late to the game. Most Android tablets manufactures are faced with meager sales compared to Apple’s iPad. They are already struggling to match the iPad’s pricing and battery life by using current dual-core chips, let alone using a more powerful, probably more expensive and power-hungry processor. Manufacturers are yet to make any quad-core product announcements.

In the smartphone market, where Android dominates over the iPhone, quad-core processors were also expected to arrive in this year -- by Christmas -- but Huang didn’t say whether Nvidia is still on track with that. Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, which also make chips for smartphones and tablets, expect their quad-core chips to be featured in devices hitting shelves early next year.

Huang also revealed that Nvidia’s chips would power some Windows 8 tablets and PCs later next year. Microsoft is set to showcase Windows 8 next week, and according to Huang, the new OS will also be able to run applications developed for its Windows Phone 7 OS.

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