NVIDIA Kai project could lead to $199 tablets with Tegra 3 chips

NVIDIA is working on a project that could mean you’ll be able to buy a $199 tablet this summer with a Tegra 3 quad-core processor.

The Tegra 3 chip is one of the fastest processors on the market, and right now it’s only available in a handful of high-end phones and tablets, typically with price tags of $400 or more.

But NVIDA’s Kai platform will make it possible for device makers to offer Tegra 3 tablets at lower prices.

NVIDIA Tablet strategy

The Verge uncovered the news about the Kai platform when listening in on NVIDIA’s recent shareholder meeting.

Unfortunately the focus in these meetings is on finances, not technology, so there aren’t exactly a lot of details about the new platform.

But NVIDIA vice president Rob Csonger says the idea is to lower the cost of components in tablets and reduce the power consumed by the display.

NVIDIA Tablet strategy

You can hear Csonger’s remarks about ARM-based tablets starting about 32:30 into the conference call.

It’s likely that one of the first devices based on the Kai platform will be an upcoming 7 inch Android tablet from Asus. Way back in January Asus announced plans to deliver a 7 inch Eee Pad MeMo tablet for $249 — and used the same picture for the tablet that NVIDIA used in last week’s presentation to shareholders.

We haven’t heard much about the tablet from Asus since then, but there have been unconfirmed rumors suggesting the tablet will actually sell for $199 or less, and that it may even be positioned as a Google Nexus-type tablet.

It looks like the Amazon Kindle Fire, B&N NOOK Tablet, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) are about to get some pretty serious competition.