When you go to a trade show like CES or CTIA, there’s a good chance that you’ll see a wide array of computers from companies that are known for making computers. But there’s also something else you’ll find: Computers and platforms hacked together to showcase some third party technology. At a Phoenix booth at CES I saw several Lenovo Ideapad S10 netbooks running Phoenix HyperSpace quick start software, even though Lenovo has opted to go with competitor Splashtop.

And at CTIA, the folks at Engadget discovered that NVIDIA gutted an HP Mini 1000 netbook and replaced its innards in order to show off NVIDIA’s Tegra platform. NVIDIA ripped out the Intel Atom chipset and loaded the HP Mini with NVIDIA’s mobile chipset with a low power graphics processor capable of playing HD video and handling 3D graphics on mobile devices. Tegra can’t handle Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7, so the prototype is running Windows CE. Theoretically, Linux would also be an option.

You’ll probably never see an HP Mini looking like this and sporting a Tegra chipset come to market. Rather, NVIDIA was just using some existing hardware to showcase its product. But that doesn’t mean we won’t see Tegra-powered devices from HP and other computer makers in the future.

Update: Laptop Magazine also got some hands-on time with this little guy. They report that the Tegra platform should provide 10-15 hours of battery life (although it’s not clear what kind of battery you’ll need to get that performance). The prototype couldn’t handle streaming Hulu videos very well, but NVIDIA is working on improved Flash support. The company is also developign a custom interface for Windows CE with an OS-X style dock.

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5 replies on “NVIDIA demos Tegra netbook built from an HP Mini”

  1. Tegra is an ARM chip. Windows XP/Vista is only available for x86 chips. Linux is perfect for this. If you are not supporting XP/Vists and DirectX then all other platforms areall the same. As long as the OS supports OpenES then it really is all the same. Ubuntu has been working on improving ARM support so I would say that would be the best option.

  2. “CE” Stands for “Crappy Environment”. XP, Linux, OSX, maybe even Be or BSD would be better than CE.

  3. My only big question is this:

    What kind of actual *pc* style application ecosystem is there for windows CE? I almost never hear about lists of software you must have on the platform, or cool new ideas that are coming out in new apps for it.

    It might be windows, but depending on what’s available it might be a worse choice than linux in this case.

    Glad to see a tegra notebook in the(somewhat) wild, though. Get one into my hands for well under $300 and you’ve probably got a sale.

  4. Hmm…maybe 45min battery life on a 3 cell???
    Maybe tegra might move atom onto the desktop but not for mainstream netbooks.

  5. Hacking is cool even if it is done by a corporation to show off their hardware. Good luck to nVidia.

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