Nvidia's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has given his opinion on the Tegra 2 products currently for sale, and he's not particularly pleased. Glancing at the market, it's hard to blame him. Motorola's Xoom
—easily the highest-profile Tegra 2
tablet launch thus far—launched without Flash support, a functional microSD slot, or support for Verizon's 4G LTE
network; early adopters had to ship the unit back to Motorola for appropriate hardware to be installed.
Initial reviews noted that both the apps and operating system were unstable, a problem Google has since blamed on the Xoom's rushed launch. The unit's price has also been problematic. Huang referred to all these points, noting to CNET that ""It's a point of sales problem. It's an expertise at retail problem. It's a marketing problem to consumers. It is a price point problem...The baseline configuration included 3G when it shouldn't have. "Tablets should have a Wi-Fi configuration and be more affordable."
Our own review of the Xoom, published here
, was generally positive, but noted that microSD slot still isn't enabled as of early May. The Xoom is evolving, but still isn't finished.
It's been a hectic few months for Nvidia—Samsung's Galaxy Tab
10.1 originally used the company's Tegra 2, right up to the point when the iPad 2 sent company execs sprinting for the drawing board. While the original GT 10.1 (now known as the 10.1V) still features Tegra 2, the 'new' Galaxy Tab 10.1 only refers to a dual-core 1GHz CPU. We're betting that Samsung's own Exynos 4210 SoC powers the graphics of the updated Tab 10.1, just as it powers the Galaxy S II in certain markets.
Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1. Slimmer chassis, high performance—but Tegra 2 powered?
One point in Nvidia's
favor is that none of the issues surrounding Honeycomb and the latest run of Tablets Made By Companies Who Aren't Apple point to a problem with Tegra 2. Unfortunately, the product's strongest points have been blurred by a rogue's gallery of problems. If the Xoom is an example of a poorly-positioned product rushed out the door, the Atrix 4G is a solid phone with an insanely priced feature.
When the Atrix
debuted, all eyes were on the phone's ability to meld seamlessly with a dock that gave it an 11.6" screen at 1366x768, a nearly full-size keyboard and trackpad, and a slick 'webtop' interface. Motorola, realizing they had a real winner, apparently felt it had no choice but to kill the product in favor of more Razr knockoffs. The dock—2.4lbs of molded plastic—sells for $300 when bundled with the phone, $500 if purchased separately. Worse, the label of "expensive" inevitably bleeds back over to the phone itself—the same linkage that made the Atrix seem unique at debut also makes the phone appear expensive, even if the phone sans
dock is reasonably priced.
All things considered, we're disappointed with the first iteration of Tegra 2 tablets as well. Virtually all of the problems, from Honeycomb's
instability, to a dearth of software, are best categorized as growing pains—issues we're confident will be resolved as manufacturers gain a better sense of the product features and price points consumers prefer.