by Matt Wuebbling

If what’s past is prologue, then the future of mobile graphics technology is bright, according to NVIDIA’s Mike Rayfield.

Mike, who helps run our mobile business, discussed the evolution of the PC at an industry event yesterday in Seattle hosted by HTC. He also explained how mobile graphics technology is gaining on the performance level of console graphics.

While he was at it, he wowed the audience with a few surprises on the new Tegra 3 powered HTC One X smartphone.

The histories of HTC and NVIDIA are rooted in the PC industry. HTC (formerly High Tech Computer) originally built notebook computers. NVIDIA, of course, is well known for designing graphics that power desktops, workstations and notebooks. While over time both companies added a focus on mobile computing, the definition of what makes something a PC has also evolved.

Several years ago, a PC meant a display that measured 11 inches or more diagonally, a physical keyboard and possibly a network connection. With the advent of mobile devices and smartphones, the idea of a PC has largely been redefined. It is now considered to be anything with a display of at least four inches, with a touchscreen that supplements (or replaces) a physical keyboard and is always connected and “on.”

This evolution requires significant innovation. For example, NVIDIA has invested heavily in extending battery life. Our Tegra 3’s 4-PLUS-1 architecture, PRISM display technology and DirectTouch touch architecture are all SoC and system-level innovations that improve the mobile experience while extending battery life.

Another big focus of the industry has been to advance the state of mobile graphics. Since the introduction of the smartphone, mobile graphics technology has advanced considerably – and it is expected to close the performance gap with console graphics in the next few years, as shown in the chart below.

Near the end of his talk, Mike was joined by Phosphor Games Studios’ Chip Sineni and Brett Seyler, of Kerosene Games, to provide a sneak peek at new unreleased mobile games optimized for Tegra 3 – Dark Meadow: The Pact and Bounty Arms THD. Both games show off the horsepower from Tegra 3’s quad-core CPU and GeForce GPU, with stunning effects and console-quality graphics.

Dark Meadow: The Pact by Phosphor Games offers a haunting experience and a visual upgrade for Tegra 3 devices compared to the current version on iOS.

The game features high-resolution textures and atmospheric real-time lighting effects. It maximizes Unreal Engine 3 to deliver a stunning first-person action/adventure game, where players fight to escape a dark fairytale world filled with fantastical creatures bent on destroying them.

Bounty Arms THD features bounty hunters on mercenary missions. It includes a colorful mix of characters, humor, classic brawler mechanics and platform exploration with RPG-style leveling of armor and weaponry. The game features full dynamic lighting, lots of mobile-optimized shaders, particle effects, animation blending and enemy attack waves boosted by Tegra 3. From Open-Reset and Luma Arcade, Bounty Arms THD will be published by Kerosene Games.

The games are coming soon to Google Play and will be featured on the free NVIDIA TegraZone app, which showcases the best games optimized for Tegra.