After wowing us with some demos in the first half of the year, NVIDIA fell a little bit behind in its plans to see the first devices built around its “Kal-El” Tegra 3 chipset make it to market. We won’t end up seeing the first smartphone based on the platform arrive until sometime next year, but even with these delays, the plan remained unchanged to have at least the first tablet using Tegra 3 arrive sometime in 2011. ZTE recently started showing-off its T98 tablet, putting it the running for becoming the first-such Kal-El device to be released.
The T98 probably won’t be the very first quad-core Android to go up for sale, but it is the first one we’ve seen with NVIDIA’s chipset. We’re particularly interested in Tegra 3 because NVIDIA’s existing relationship with Android manufacturers means we’re likely to see it dominate the early wave of quad-core Androids arriving through next year. If we weren’t looking forward to trying out systems built around the chip already thanks to the impressive demos, the just-revealed news that the Tegra 3 includes a fifth core optimized for low-power operation has us itching to give one a run for its money and see how battery performance is really affected by the new hardware.
As should be expected, the rest of the T98’s hardware specs make it sound decently capable; besides the 1.3GHz quad-core Tegra 3, the table will feature a seven-inch WXGA 1280 x 800 display, one gigabyte of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage. In addition to a five-megapixel main camera, there’s also a two-megapixel front-facer. There’s no ETA for a release, making it possible another Tegra 3 device could beat it to market, but it looks like it’s ready to launch in the near future.