Acer working on an NVIDIA Tegra laptop

NVIDIA Tegra logo

Acer is planning to launch a few new mobile computing products in the coming months. According to DigiTimes the company will launch:

  • A notebook with a 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual core processor
  • An ultrabook with an Intel chip
  • New tablets running Google Android 3.2

The Android tablets and Intel-powered thin and light ultrabook are hardly surprising. But the NVIDIA Tegra laptop is a bit unusual. DigiTimes reports that it could hit the market in July. That means it will likely run Google Android or another Linux-based operating system since Windows 7 can’t run on devices with ARM-based processors.

Microsoft is expected to launch Windows 8 next year. That will be the first full desktop operating system from the company that is designed for low power ARM chips, and once it’s available I suspect we’ll see a number of companies releasing laptop, tablet, and possibly even desktop computers with chips from NVIDIA and other companies best known for making the processors that power smartphones.

If Acer really does plan to launch a Tegra-powered laptop this year, it looks like the company is hoping to be ahead of the curve… but it sounds like a gamble to me. While tablet computers running a variety of operating systems are starting to flood the market, it’s not clear if there’s much demand for laptops that don’t run Windows or OS X at this point.

  • Someone

    Sounds like a huge gamble to me.  Tegra 2 is about at the end of it’s life cycle.  It’s a damn nice chip for phones.  But with Quads coming in less than 3 months according to nVidia that have higher clocks, and better graphics, it doesn’t make sense.  Especially since you’d have the cooling and battery envelope to overclock the snot out of those tiny little cores and get them all the way up (to like 2ghz, woo hoo)…

    All joking aside, this seems premature.  The OS situation is bad, and although there’s always a next big thing around the corner, this one is already on it’s way around that corner and waiting seems prudent.

    ARM processors are growing in capability at a rate that’s about double that of Moore’s law right now.  So fence sitting is easy.  Last year I would have been excited about this.  Now, without better specs, I’m not even slightly interested, and I can’t see how Acer is going to have any easier time with this than Toshiba did with there ARM laptop last year.

    It doesn’t make sense.

    • Anonymous

      Well, we still got a full year before Windows 8 is officially released and the one thing they can do by sticking to Tegra 2 would be to lower costs.

      The depreciation rate is also pretty fast for ARM.  While one of the problems with many ARM products are despite being cheaper to build they still have a higher cost for bang for your buck performance than say netbooks.

      So likely they are looking to produce some really low cost products to help expand their ARM offerings market share.

      They could also opt for Device On Chip (DOC) modules that would make their product easy to upgrade to the next gen when it both becomes available and affordable.

      Kinda like how some companies are working the embedded market for ARM solutions for example.

      The original Tegra even came on a RAM size board that could just be plugged into a system and they could easily adopt something similar for the Tegra 2 and have it compatible with the same type of board for Tegra 3 for easy upgrading.

  • Attt

    The Toshiba AC100 failed simply because they did not support a proper OS, when a lot of their customers (geeks, early adopters) asked for Ubuntu support.  Others will make usable ARM laptops instead, Toshiba RIP.

    • Anonymous

      The Toshiba AC100 failed because it was pricey, had a touch optimized OS with no touch screen, and didn’t quite deliver on all that it promised.

      While the community of users did hack the Toshiba AC100 with Ubuntu.  Steve Chippy, UMPCPortal/Carrypad, even did a review on it.

      It showed promise but performance could have been better.  Perhaps with official support and perhaps a lighter linux distro version it could be more practical.  But I don’t think it’ll take off until Tegra 3 or similar go into such devices.