by Matt Wuebbling

A few months back, we unveiled Project Kal-El – our next-gen Tegra super chip – as the world’s first mobile quad-core processor. Kal-El combines a battery-friendly, powerhouse of a quad-core processor with a 12-core NVIDIA GPU that supports 3D stereo.

Given that dual-core processors are already on market, you might be wondering how Project Kal-El’s quad-core technology will improve the mobile experience. Rather than try to explain it, we’ve put together a hands-on demo to give you a sneak peek at the new capabilities coming to superphones and tablets later this year.

The video, below, features a demo we created called “Glowball,” which draws its namesake from the feature character: a brilliant lit, bouncing ball.

The ball serves as the light source. As it rolls, it casts its effect on different objects. This shows off the power of true dynamic lighting, rendered in real-time with physics (no canned animations here, folks). Thanks to Project Kal-El, Glowball’s true dynamic lighting brings more life and interactivity to a 3D environment. This marks the first time this type of lighting is feasible on a mobile device.

Glowball also leverages the accelerometer inside the device, affecting real-time movements of drapes throughout the game. As the user tilts the device, the gravity in the scene changes and drapes respond accordingly.

The movements are calculated using physics and are simulated across Project Kal-El’s four CPU cores. Again, no canned animations. As the ball rolls through the drapes, they respond how you’d expect them to in real life. In addition, as the ball collides into the jack-in-the-boxes and barrels, the scene responds. Notice how the visual quality degrades when only two CPU cores are used. It’s clear that the quad-core processor in Project Kal-El is required for this level of realism.

Let us know what you think of the new demo. And stay tuned as we reveal more about the new mobile experiences coming to consumer devices with Project Kal-El.



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  • Anonymous

    What I think? I think I want my Atrix with that CPU. Imagine the webtop possibilities…

  • Alex Lowe

    Awesome!!! Wish I hadnt bought a tablet last year before the tegra chips.

  • LemonadeJoe

    Very, very nice!

  •ánchez-Domínguez/533346780 Alonso Sánchez Domínguez

    AWESOME! I love the way mobile processors are evolving, I mean nVidia has done it again, as is customary… I only hope that soon enough I can have the power of a GTX 590 paired with the already powerful processors in a small portable enclosure… of course not a phone or a tablet, but at least a beast of a laptop…. CONGRATS nVidia!!!

  • Anonymous

    Future belongs to dockable devices. Almost all the devices containing processing power will be able to communicate with each other with natural behaviour as expected from them. Atrix and padPhone being prime examples currently. Distributed processing, coming from the power of mobiles and tablets would create distributed computing and gaming move to magical and fantasy-like levels.
    nVidia has taken a brilliant step ahead in this direction

  • Joseph Casalino III

    This is beautiful!  Amazing to see how quickly the tablet and mobile processors are developing.  Can’t wait to play with it in person.

  • Mahesh Sreekandath

     How does the current consumption fare in comparison with Tegra 2 ? Are these cores capable of simultaneously clocking at different frequency or they need to be clocked at the same speed?

  • Nils

    Sooo where can I get it? Devkit? When comes a tablet out with the new quad core tegra chip? Also I wonder if this demo would run on a PC..

  • Andre

    If it’s a 28 nm chip then it shouldn’t consume more than Tegra 2 and can be used in phones.
    If it’s 40 nm, well, then I hope nvidia would implement some very good power saving features, although I think it’d be used in tablets not phones. At 40 nm they shoud make a dual-core kal-el for phones. I want that GPU.

  • Mark Firemoon

    You know, I’m expecting to see a hardware accelerated IE10 video next.

  • Roberto Tomás Collins McCarthy

    yeah I’m with you. In a freeform board how high can I clock it? 😀 
    Can I get two?

  • Peter Pain

    Super cool, lets hope battery life, actually being able to purchase on launch and not least, it’s super affordable unlike xoom. I wonder if it were super inexpensive if everybody would run out and buy and ditch most other of their devices for this must have leap in mobile processing.

  • Mahesh Sreekandath

    thanks, how about capability of clocking ARM cores at different frequencies?

  • Luiz Fernando .


  • ken.h

    When can we end-users get our hands on an Nvidia arm netbook, laptop, nettop, webtop? Inquiring minds want to know 🙂

  • CedarPointConsulting

    Very impressive display of processing power, kudos.

    I’m also impressed with Nvidia’s ability to change their strategic direction and go after the mobile chip market – it really shows a lot of foresight and good execution skills.

    IMO, the Android platform shows the greatest promise for mobile, and this is where Nvidia has focused their current efforts. Best of luck in those efforts.

  • Matt Wuebbling

    @Everyone – Thanks for the comments. It’s an exciting demo
    and we’re happy to share it. We’re looking forward to adding
    more levels and making it available on the android market.


    @Nils –  Stay tuned to for more
    info on dev kit availabity. We’re looking forward to seeing what all of the creative developers can
    do with Kal-El!


    @Mahesh – You will be impressed by the lower power
    capability. We’re seeing terrific results.


    @freakynit – We couldn’t agree more – docking offers a great
    level of flexibility and compelling use cases. It will be interesting to see what
    devices are capable in a year from now, 2 years, 3 years, etc. It’s an exciting


    @keh.h – Stay tuned! It’s all coming.


    @Peter Pain – We’re eager to see Kal-El
    devices across all price points.

  • Lukasz Marcyniuk


    Is it possible that you review more information about the Language/Engine/Tools which you have used to develop this demo?

    That’s great that you bring out this powerful peace of Hardware but I myself, as a software developer, would like to know more about the Software development and the techniques you have used to build this demo.


  • Roberth Antonio Sanchez Moreno

    no se mueven los ojos del payaso en el reflejo.. ejejeje dimanica?

  • Rocking Pocket Games

    What kind of shadows are used here?  Is it possible to use a floating point frame buffer for omnidirectional variance shadow mapping yet?

  • Anonymous

    “What I think? I think I want my Atrix with that CPU AND with an OPEN bootloader. Imagine the webtop possibilities…”

    Fixed that for you..

  • Anonymous

    Well yeah, that too

  • Greg Suskin

    One of these and a 9000MAH battery, LTE and a 4.3 inch qHD screen, 2mp front camera and 8 mp 1080p back camera with flash, android ice cream.

    That better be the standard for phones in 2012!