Nvidia Phoenix with Tegra 4i demoed, plans to help you replace your camera with your phone once and for all

Nvidia has shown off its new Tegra 4i processor which it hopes will have the power and the popularity to take on Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 800 processor.

Due to be in phones in time for Christmas, the new chip builds on the Tegra 4 processor announced at CES in January by adding a 4G LTE modem, something that has been a thorn in Nvidia's side until now.

Dubbed Phoenix, the reference handset the company is using to woo partners like ZTE is still in early prototype stages, but Nvidia allowed us to have a gander at what the processor will be capable of.

Rather than asked to be impressed with games, something that Nvidia is famous for, we asked the company to show us what else the processor could do.

The answer? Help you take photographs at blistering speeds.

Nvidia showed us how the new processor will allow users to take a Full HDR shot within 0.2 seconds, and that the processor is also capable of relaying live HDR details regardless of where you point the phone's camera. It's very clever.

But it's not just about dealing with exposure in a live setting, but also tracking subjects too. Like the Apple iPhone's ability to lock AE/AF in the camera app, Nvidia is planning to allow people to lock on to a specific subject or object, such as a moving child or a ball. The difference between the two systems, however, is that the Tegra 4i-powered offering will be able to actively track the object/subject if you move - or more likely the case, it moves.

We can see this really coming into play with augmented reality in the future as the processor should, in theory, have enough power to cope with tracking multiple objects on screen at once. 

On a more geeky level the Tegra 4 and Tegra 4i will, aside from the modem, be the same processor and come with the same quad-core architecture with a fifth core to help share the load when needed. Nvidia say it's around 6x faster than the current Tegra 3 processor, but comes with enough power-saving elements to ensure your phone doesn't just turn into a cooker in your pocket.

While the demos are promising, it's still too early to tell how the processor will perform in a real device in the real world. The way our Nvidia spokesman was talking to us, we get the feeling that internally they are using the Phoenix phones out and about, but the rest of us we will have to wait for the next couple of months for the first Tegra 4 device (most likely a tablet and the Shield console), and till the end of the year (most likely CES 2014) for a Tegra 4i device.

One thing is certain however, Nvidia plans to make sure that if you use a smartphone or tablet with its processors, they will be powerful enough for almost anything you plan to do.



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