Not content with owning the innards of many name-brand Android tablets and other digital devices, NVIDIA has just raised its mobile processor game a notch or few more, using the Consumer Electronics Show 2015 as the platform to debut is new Tegra X1 “superchip.” NVIDIA describes this as “the most advanced mobile processor we’ve ever created,” with “powerful new NVIDIA Maxwell™ architecture, 256 GPU cores, a 64-bit CPU, unbeatable 4K video capabilities, and more power-efficient performance than its predecessor make it perfect for even the most challenging mobile and automotive applications.” NVIDIA’s official blog boils this down into “a full teraflop of computing power into a slice of silicon no bigger than a thumbnail.”

According to more detailed breakdowns of the new chip, this boost is not just about raw horsepower but about across-the-board improvements across the whole architecture, especially for images and video. Power management also is considerably improved, which should be one of the immediate benefits for ereader users.

What can you do with all that horsepower, though? Well, according to NVIDIA, you can literally use it to drive your car. “Your future cars will be the most advanced computers in the world,” said NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang at NVIDIA’s CES 2015 presentation. “There will be more computing horsepower inside a car than anything you own today.” NVIDIA’s presentation leant heavily on automotive uses.

That does call into question the whole issue of diminishing returns, certainly for ereading devices. Tomorrow’s smartphones and tablets may have processing power that could outstrip yesterday’s Crays, but will that really translate into any actual improved experience or genuinely useful features for reading onscreen? Perhaps the right end of the market to look for really innovative and beneficial tech for ereading is the low end of embedded devices and better epaper instead.


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