Talking tech since 2003

The line between desktop and mobile computing has been getting ever thinner, with mobile devices boasting nearly as much power as traditional PCs for a while now. Now, with a newly announced mobile “super chip” from NVIDIA at CES yesterday, it won’t be long until we forget that we ever used PCs at all. The Tegra K1, soon to be available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, is a 192-core powerhouse that NVIDIA says is capable of running Unreal Engine 4, Epic Games’ latest and greatest graphics engine.

According to a press release published by the company yesterday, the Tegra K1 mobile processor features “the same NVIDIA Kepler architecture that powers the fastest GPU on the planet, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti.” This fact, combined with the aforementioned 192-core infrastructure, will give the Tegra K1 huge graphics capabilities, as well as “advanced computation capabilities to speed the development of applications for computer vision and speech recognition.”

The release says that the 32-bit version of the chip will start showing up in devices in the first half of 2014, while the second half will see the release of the 64-bit version. Either way, the Tegra K1 is promising an exciting amount of innovation set to come to the world of mobile devices. The idea that you’ll be able to run Unreal Engine 4 from a smartphone packing a Tegra K1 is extremely cool for gamers who might not be satisfied with the likes of Angry Birds and Tiny Tower.

Check out the video demo of a Tegra K1-powered device running Unreal 4:

But what really seems interesting is the “computer vision and speech recognition,” in that NVIDIA says the chip will pack enough power for complex computation in such a small package. That means that as soon as engineers actually create software sophisticated enough to make good use of speech recognition and computer vision, this chip will be able to handle it all.

The Tegra K1 would seem to have lots of potential for the future of a number of interesting tech initiatives, like the wearables fad and Google’s long-awaited self-driving car. Having a powerful PC in your pocket is cool enough—but having a tiny-yet-powerful processor backing up your automobile is even cooler.

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