Qualcomm might have announced on that it was planning on letting manufacturers launch quad-core Snapdragon devices at the start of 2012, but Nvidia has trumped the news by saying that it's not only got a working prototype already, but that we’ll see the first commercial tablets in August and the first phones before the end of the year.

On show at the company’s booth at Mobile World Congress, Nvidia has shown off a quad-core tablet prototype that runs 1440p video content running on a 2560x1600 panel, as well as a modified PS3 game with over 300 characters battling it out on screen at the same time.

While that might not immediately mean much to the average man on the street, to put it in a another way - it's the iPhone’s retina display at 10.1 inches rather than just 3.5 inches.

“That will enable mobile devices to output to the highest resolution monitors or tablets equipped with a 10.1-inch display with 300 DPI,” says Mike Rayfield, the company’s general manager for the mobile business and Tegra.

It should also mean, thanks to the new hardware accelerated features of applications like Microsoft's IE9 on both PC and Windows Phone 7, that the software that does use the extra power will be considerably quicker. 

nvidia quad core tablets coming august image 3

Codenamed Kal-El (Superman’s real name for those thinking it sound familiar) the new processor will be the start of the next evolution of Tegra chips that include Wayne, Logan, and Stark.

The superhero codenames will be coming out in a steady 1-year cadence over the next 3 years, although Rayfield tells Pocket-lint that when it launches it will lose the cool names.

“You might well ask: what on earth can be done with nearly 75x improvement in performance over Tegra 2 that Stark will provide in 2014?" says Rayfield, "but our customers and partners have already indicated that they’re confident they can use everything we give them.” 

Sadly we couldn’t convince Rayfield to let us know what tablets, or phones the new technology will appea, meaning we will have to try and dig out the information ourselves presumably before IFA in Berlin at the end of August. 

It's worth pointing out that Nvidia currently works with Motorola, Acer, Dell, Asus, and Toshiba.

The challenge has been set.

We will keep you posted.