Nvidia and Asus aim for $249 Tegra 3 tablet

CES — At Nvidia’s CES press conference, Asus CEO Jerry Shen joined Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang on stage to talk about Tegra 3-based tablets. The subject of their chat was a compact 7" tablet, and the specs were very nice: a quad-core-ish Tegra 3 processor, 1280×800 IPS display, Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich," the "world’s best camera" (presumably only among tablets) and "all-day" battery life.

After introducing this device, Shen and Huang engaged in a catty little back-and-forth dialog, pretending to be bargaining downward on the tablet’s price. Their banter ended with at a pretty impressive number. Shen said, "We want to achieve $249." Of course, at that price, the Asus tablet would be very close to bargain-basement tablets like Amazon’s Kindle Fire, yet it would have a full version of Android 4.0, a higher-density display, and a faster processor.

Some folks may remember this 7" Asus tablet as the Eee Pad MeMO, which was shown as a prototype at last year’s CES. It’s taken a while, but Asus tells us the MeMO is slated to arrive on U.S. store shelves in the second quarter of this year. We had some hands-on time with the MeMO in a short visit to Asus, and it looks very nice indeed—worlds apart from our Kindle Fire, to say the least. The screen is crisp, bright, and rather enticing.

That’s "world’s best" claim apparently refers to the device’s eight-megapixel camera, which has a back-illuminated CMOS sensor and an F2.4 lens. The camera will record video at 1080p. The MeMO’s dimensions are 7.8 x 4.6 x 0.5", and it weighs in at 14.2 oz. Another highlight of the spec sheet is the planned 1GB of RAM, which ranks as fairly ample among current tablets. The MeMO will come with 16GB of flash storage, and it will rely on Bluetooth and 802.11n Wi-Fi for connectivity.

If Asus and Nvidia can pull off the $249 price tag and deliver this thing in the stated time frame, it could be a very big deal indeed.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    I hope it will also have a microSD slot, hopefully with support for more than the current 32GB limit. 3G is asking too much so I don’t really expect it to be included.

    Looks good. Could be a very good value for money. Now let’s see what the other players do.

    • Mightyflapjack
    • 8 years ago

    Ever since I saw the Kindle I said, “I wish there was a an inexpensive tablet I could use for my extensive collection of RPG books.”

    The problem was always a lack of storage space, proprietary formats, and insufficient processor/RAM.

    My gaming book PDF collection tips the scale at over 60-70 GB. This device may have enough power, RAM, and with its micro-SD card (up to 64 GB storage, plus the 16 GB of the device, minus overhead) might be able to make my wish come true.

    Cautiously optimistic.

      • Anarchist
      • 8 years ago

      why don’t you put together a small web server … then you can use cheap tablet to access files over the wireless network.

        • Mightyflapjack
        • 8 years ago

        Its not for home use, its to stop having to lug 50lb of books to the place my RPG gaming group meets monthly, no wifi access…

        You know by admitting that I think I just gained or lost respect from the readers here, I have no idea which one. Probably balances out.

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          I think the “cloud” would work well for you… Amazon Cloud Drive, iCloud, Box.net, Dropbox,com…

          No WiFi? 3G/4G works as well.

          Alternatively, get a tablet with a USB port, and start hauling along a small external HDD.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    Maybe I’ve been playing Oblivion too much, but if I ever meet Jen Hsun, I’d like to tell him, ‘Look at the muscles on you!’

    • ClickClick5
    • 8 years ago

    AND then Nvidia will start wanting more money for the chipset and Asus will decline, causing Asus to pick a new chipset for their next tablet. As both Microsoft and Sony have experienced with the GPUs in the Xbox and PS3, respectively.

      • Kollaps
      • 8 years ago

      Not at all comparable. Tegra 3 will be in numerous tablets, will be replaced by Tegra 4 in a year, and have far stiffer competition.

    • Hattig
    • 8 years ago

    I’ve got to say that the price point and the features are very nice on this.

    A tablet is fine (for now) with 1GB RAM, and the 16GB flash is enough for many uses (especially if you keep your music on your phone / iPod). A quad-core will surely be great for a few years of tablet use. The IPS display at 1280×800 should give very crisp text (if not quite ‘retina’) to boot.

    As the HD iPad 3 will probably cost $499 at least; it will be a difficult decision – 7″ at cheaper 2012 prices, or a 10″ at 2011 prices.

    • ET3D
    • 8 years ago

    Very tempting. This price for this spec is a step up from what we’re used to.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      more like 2 steps up. Aside from the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet, every other 7″ tablet in that price range was a single-core Cortex A8 design, and all of the tablets in this price range run Gingerbread. Aside from the Archos G9 series 8″ tablet, that is – it runs Honeycomb.

        • kamikaziechameleon
        • 8 years ago

        yeah, this pretty much solved my dilema of how to get my mobile workshop going. One of these and a decent 13 inch laptop(lets see if one of those ever materializes) Then all I need is a new camera and I’m set.

    • indeego
    • 8 years ago

    It is crazy how fast the tablet/phone world appears to be evolving versus molasses x86.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 8 years ago

      yeah, ultra books are not a new concept by any means but they are taking forever to offer decent product in that category. Desktop equally feels like meaningful updates(like reliable SSDs) are slow to show up.

    • wallispat
    • 8 years ago
      • willmore
      • 8 years ago

      Strangely, this is the most off topic post for this article.

        • mcnabney
        • 8 years ago

        Who pushed the SMITE button?

    • ish718
    • 8 years ago

    This is bound to hurt ipad sales, which is a good thing.

      • My Johnson
      • 8 years ago

      No.

      • travbrad
      • 8 years ago

      Zune is bound to hurt iPod sales

        • ish718
        • 8 years ago

        Oranges and apples?

          • derFunkenstein
          • 8 years ago

          No, not really:

          1.) Apple dominates an emerging market
          2.) Another tech giant (MS or Google) want a piece of that pie and enter that market
          3.) ????
          4.) Profit. Unless it’s the Zune, because it really doesn’t do that sort of thing.

    • ianworld
    • 8 years ago

    A front facing camera to me is far more useful than a rear facing one on a tablet. I want one i can skype/google hangout with my friends on. A much better couch activity than filming things.

      • squeeb
      • 8 years ago

      Agreed.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    I was really excited about the Lenovo offering but this kinda made that irrelevant, I mean the main feature for me is a mute point when I can get a dedicated touch device with more “tablet” functionality for so little money. I’m still interested to see if they can take some of that laptops form factor and implement it on a standard laptop with a discrete GPU.

      • designerfx
      • 8 years ago

      Why is it a mute point? Most of these devices have speakers. (rimshot).

      at $249 this could be very, very interesting. I think the manufacturers are catching on to what amazon and HP have done.

        • kamikaziechameleon
        • 8 years ago

        I expect Asus to find some way to subsidize this product, not sure what yet, maybe bundled software or something.

        • mutarasector
        • 8 years ago

        Uhm, what is a ‘mute’ point? Izzat some kind of newfangled audio related touch gesture, or something? 🙂

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          I guess I have to continue downthumbing grammar nazies.

      • yogibbear
      • 8 years ago

      Moot.

        • kamikaziechameleon
        • 8 years ago

        thanks, my bad. atleast I spelled the wrong word right though…

    • digitalnut
    • 8 years ago

    Hope they include an IR port or ports one on top and another on the side. These would make good remotes. Plus something to keep it up at an angle when its on the table.

    Plus a universal dock contactor that all tablets would use.

      • thermistor
      • 8 years ago

      As bad as this sounds, when you talk about keeping it at an angle, all I could think of was Young Frankenstein with the the levitating table/Madeline Kahn scene. That is so wrong…

    • Anarchist
    • 8 years ago

    if this comes to pass … many tablet makers will get wiped off the map. As low cost tablets spread the idea of platform specific “app” will die and apple and google will have to make some tough decisions or risk having their respective platforms be hijacked by a web browser.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 8 years ago

      what, firstly how would a webbrowser hurt google, they make one and an OS based on one. Secondly what does that have to do with this device>?

      Edit, I see your fear that this product will out compete many other competitors offerings, but after your first sentence I can’t follow your thinking.

        • Anarchist
        • 8 years ago

        just thinking out loud … not always coherent buy the gist of my thinking is that once html5 goes mainstream the notion of platform specific “app” will likely not be an attractive idea. If so the web-browser will likely be the only “app” any tablet will need. If that is the case who cares if you are running it on ios, android or whatever. If so then the whole point of tablet operating system collapses into nothing more than scaffolding for a web-browser.

          • indeego
          • 8 years ago

          Everything Google does, [b<]everything[/b<], is a driver to have people use search. Android is a platform to get people Google accounts to get them using search to get their eyeballs staying on Google. The thinking is make it as easy as possible for users, developers(Android and Networks) to get on the web is the least impetus to driving eyeballs to search. Putting people on the web keeps them close to Google, as long as their search remains relevant (IMO Google's search has noticeably slipped, by searched are not always as relevant as they used to be, or Google "decides" what is better.) I honestly don't think Google would care if Microsoft or Apple won the smartphone wars, as long as they kept people searching using Google, and they are, on both of those desktop and mobile platforms. HTML5 and standardization only helps Google with ease of development. HTML5 (or likely many iterations beyond) will never be a replacement for most desktop-style apps, which is why so many people are grumbling about Metro on Windows 8.

      • indeego
      • 8 years ago

      > their respective platforms be hijacked by a web browser.

      Google wouldn’t mind this one bit. They have a store for browser-based apps as well as phone.

      • TakinYourPoints
      • 8 years ago

      Just like native apps are being supplanted by web apps.

      ….

      Come on, really? There are certainly advantages to web applications (ie – portability) but performance is still majorly lacking compared to what you can get with a native application.

        • evilpaul
        • 8 years ago

        Android apps are run in a Java-style VM. It’s why x86 Android isn’t a completely terrible idea.

    • Farting Bob
    • 8 years ago

    I see tech companies have followed Apples lead so far that they know also trot out their CEO’s on stage to announce products whilst wearing smart/casual clothing. In reality, there are probably better people to publically launch products than CEO’s, although i guess you got to give them something to do to earn their millions.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 8 years ago

      Well atleast the most talked about product from the press conference isn’t an apple clone.

      • indeego
      • 8 years ago

      I think it is refreshing because it shows the CEO is innately aware of their products. Eric Schmidt was/is one of them. The problem is these people don’t have exactly enthralling personalities on stage like Jobs did.

      There are CEOs of companies than have zero technical background and would probably do poorly presenting, like say Meg Whitman for HP. (I don’t discount her business acumen.)

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 8 years ago

      Shoulda got Snooki.

        • kamikaziechameleon
        • 8 years ago

        lmfao, wow didn’t see that response coming.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    oh god I want it! Perfect for my viewing of digital comics.

      • Helmore
      • 8 years ago

      Wouldn’t you want something a little bigger if you’re going to read comics on it? Something around the 10″ mark?

        • swaaye
        • 8 years ago

        Also, 4:3 aspect ratio is so much better for reading scanned stuff like that. Very little wasted screen area.

          • PenGun
          • 8 years ago

          Turn it on it’s side. Perfect for reading, I read Kindle books all the time on my Sammy GS2.

          • kamikaziechameleon
          • 8 years ago

          I see that. I also don’t see a similar offering at this price point with that aspect ratio… I can happily make due with a 7 inch tablet.

        • kamikaziechameleon
        • 8 years ago

        Assuming it has an accelerometer I can just rotate the tablet around to get the best look at whatever, plus zoom in/out. Shouldn’t be a problem I think.

        Anyone ever watch a motion comic? I did, about 30 seconds of one before I wanted to throw up. There is a reason comics are static.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 8 years ago

    Sold!

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah that’s what I was thinking too. If they deliver at this price and timeframe, I might be selling the Kindle. 😮

      • willmore
      • 8 years ago

      I’ll take one, too.

      • Shinare
      • 8 years ago

      I’m N41! (tho I’d take a 10″)

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 8 years ago

      yep, perfect at that price point.

      • CB5000
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah I was thinking that too… time to acutally get a tablet this time!

        • kamikaziechameleon
        • 8 years ago

        If it was a day and date launch with the announcement I would have already ordered it without even thinking about where the money was coming from.

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