I was playing the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim video game at CES: a game I play often at home on my Xbox 360 and large-screened HDTV. Skyrim has stellar graphics at home, so today was no different. Well, there was one difference. I wasn’t playing on my Xbox. I was playing on an Nvidia Tegra 3 powered Android 4.0 tablet.
During a stop at Nvidia’s CES booth, I got a chance to see games such as Skyrim and Shadowrun on big screens, along with a new 7-inch Tegra 3 Android tablet from ZTE. All were impressive as you can see in this short video. Most impressive was that Skyrim was actually running on a Windows desktop and being remotely rendered on the Transformer Prime via Splashtop’s software!
The first games were played on the Asus Transformer Prime, the first quad-core Android 4.0 tablet. With the optional keyboard dock — which has a battery inside of it — the whole set up can run for more than 20 hours. And yet, the device can push console-quality graphics on its own screen, an HDTV, or both. I was very impressed, even though I didn’t kill the dragon in Skyrim; clearly it’s not the silicon that’s the problem.
ZTE’s 7-inch Android 4.0 slate was also running a Tegra 3 chip and showed similar performance in a smaller package. I haven’t heard about any pricing or availability for this slate, so stay tuned.
And we’ll be waiting a few months to see products with Nvidia’s DirectTouch solution on Android devices. The company can remove the touch controllers from devices and have the Tegra 3 GPU interpret touches. The result: up to three times better touch performance, which could help remove Android’s laggy feel.
Although not in the video, I spoke at length with Nvidia about its opportunity with Windows 8. And why not? The market is wide open now for all chips that use the ARM architecture. From what I saw today, Windows on ARM won’t necessarily mean a poor experience.