Nvidia has been bubbling with optimism this week and there may be a good reason for it: The company next week is on tap to demonstrate its quad-core Kal-El chip on a Microsoft Windows 8 tablet.
We're hearing in multiple places that a Windows 8 tablet run by Kal-El will make an appearance at the Build conference next week. Samsung, Nvidia and Microsoft will introduce the Windows 8 tablet in a demo. These sources also indicate that a Samsung tablet will be the first Microsoft device with Kal-El. The demonstration would also indicate that Samsung plans to make a Windows 8 tablet. Reports surfaced in the Korea Economic Daily.
What's unclear is when this Windows 8-Kal-El creation will be publicly available. Our sources are touting the first Microsoft tablet with Kal-El, but the timing doesn't quite add up. Kal-El will be released in the third quarter, but Windows 8 won't be released to manufacturing until April 2012 at the earliest.
Windows 8 bits are expected to be handed out to developers next week.
Given those moving parts, it's likely that Kal-El will power the demo Windows 8 unit to be claimed as a first. But Nvidia's quad core chip will run on Android in a tablet you can actually buy later this year. As Mary Jo Foley noted, Microsoft showed off a quad-core Windows slate at TechEd New Zealand last month.
Another option is that a Windows 7 tablet will be handed to developers at Build, but it can be upgraded to Windows 8.
Add it up and Nvidia's optimism this week---the company upped its fiscal 2013 outlook and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has been confident---may be warranted because it's betting on two tablet horses in Android and Windows 8.
A few points to note:
- If Samsung is on the Windows 8 tablet bandwagon it offer some serious Android diversification. Given Samsung's patent lawsuits with Apple, a Microsoft option could deliver returns just based on legal costs.
- Nvidia's plan to trump Qualcomm on quad-core market share may rest with Microsoft. Analysts have been skeptical about Nvidia's optimism largely because Android tablets haven't become consumer hits. If Nvidia has all of its non-iPad bases covered its goal to have 70 percent market share in non-Apple tablets looks more realistic.
TechRepublic's Jason Hiner, Mary Jo Foley and ZDNet UK's Rupert Goodwins contributed to this report.