NVIDIA's Tegra 4 Chip May Power Chromebook

By Joann Fan email: , Feb 07, 2013 05:41 PM EST

Chrome Story noticed a bit of code for a new Chrome OS build that referenced support and testing for a "T114 Dalmore" chip, GigaOM reports. That means someone (probably the Chrome team) is testing a new device, which folks at believe uses the NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor (code-named "puppy" in the Chromium code base).

The processor was announced on January 6th, 2013 and features 4 ARM Cortex-A15 processor cores and 72 graphics cores. It is said to be about 20 times faster than Tegra 2 and 6 times faster than Tegra 3. 

Right now, very few hardware makers have announced upcoming products featuring the Tegra 4, so this new Chromebook (if it even is a Chromebook-- it might also be a Chromebox) could be a boon for the company. Rumors have even circulated that NVIDIA might produce its own hardware for use with its Tegra chip, which has proven popular with tablets, but not so much with smartphones. Kevin C. Tofel at GigaOM even speculates that the Chromebook might even be an NVIDIA-branded product.

More companies are jumping onto the Chromebook bandwagon these days-- HP, Acer and Samsung have all produced their own models, which are differentiated from regular notebooks by their virtually maintenance-free upkeep. All files are stored in the cloud, with automatically updating anti-virus databases, and the OS is centered around Chrome apps and facilitating internet browsing. The computer can switch effortlessly and completely between users, so there's no need to worry about anyone accessing your files when they need to use your computer, and everything is stored online so even if the Chromebook breaks down, all your documents will be safe. 

Functionality is greatly reduced without an internet connection (Google seems to expect that you would be able to access the internet at all times), but several offline apps will still be available for use.

Tofel says that if a Tegra-powered Chromebook were to hit the market, it would probably make its debut during the Google I/O event this May. Conversely, if more products don't emerge with the Tegra 4, it may push the release of this Chromebook forward to encourage more hardware vendors to use the chip.

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