by Noah Kravitz

CES 2011 may go down as NVIDIA’s coming out party, as everything from phones to tablet computers to electric cars are showing up in Las Vegas with NVIDIA chips on the inside and logos on the outside. Three of the four major US carriers announced one or more NVIDIA-powered devices during yesterday’s press day, and there’s more on tap for today.

I’m getting ahead of myself thinking about the T-Mobile and Verizon press conferences scheduled for a few hours from now, though. Yesterday LG made their first dual-core superphone official by announcing the LG Optimus 2X, an Android device powered by the Tegra 2 super chip. Yeah, I took “super chip” right off the press release, but it kinda has a ring to it, no? Super chips in superphones for superheroes, right?

I got some hands-on time with a non-final version of the Optimus 2X, which you can check out in the video below. Neither hardware nor software was final on the device I tried, but even still the phone was fast and smooth, and the hardware struck a nice balance between lightweight and solid-feeling. And I always love a shiny brushed metal accent to jazz up the back of a phone.

Optimus 2X’s spec sheet reads more like a computer’s features than those of a phone – as well it should considering we’re talking about a mobile computer as much as “just a phone”:

  • 4 ” WVGA multitouch display
  • 8GB memory expandable to 32GB via microSD
  • 8 MP main camera and 1.3 MP front-facing camera
  • 1080p Full HD video recording and playback (MPEG-4/H.264)
  • HDMI mirroring for full user interface, photo/video content, Web, etc.
  • 1,500 mAh battery

These next-gen features are powered by Tegra 2, which features:

  • Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU. This is basically a dual 1GHz setup, the world’s first mobile dual-core CPU
  • Ultra-low powered (ULP) NVIDIA GeForce GPU for 3D gaming and UI experiences
  • 1080p Video Playback Processor

In a nutshell, this all means that your “phone” can now bring multiplayer 3D gaming, full HD video capture/playback, and laptop-level productivity power to your pocket. Literally.

What will they think of next? Good question! Check out my roundup of Motorola’s new Tegra 2-based products to get an idea of the answer.