Nvidia Kal-El quad-core phone chip is faster than a speeding bullet in video

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a video showing off the processing power of Nvidia's quad-core Kal-El chip for Android tablets and phones.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a video showing off the processing power of Nvidia's quad-core Kal-El chip for Android tablets and phones.

Nvidia hopes that Kal-El will make your mobile device faster than a speeding bullet. Currently named after what's written on Superman's birth certificate, the finished chip should be in phones and tablets later this year .

When it's finished, Nvidia claims the chip will be 25 to 30 per cent faster than the version powering the demonstration below.

Kal-El's power is demonstrated in a game called Glowball. The game involves bouncing a glowing ball off a series of macabre jack-in-the-boxes, with the ball dynamically lighting its surroundings, rather than relying on prepared animations. The game also exploits a device's accelerometer, so that curtains billow as you tilt your gadget. Again, the effect is created dynamically. 

In the video below, the game is run on the tablet-focused version of Android, HoneycombGlowball will eventually be available in the Android Market for you to try out yourself.

Nvidia suggests that the graphics quality in the video can't be achieved using just two cores. Still, quad-core chips that can leap tall buildings in a single bound are all very well, but what if you're stuck in a fortress of solitude and your phone's battery dies? Both hardware and software will have to be optimised to get the best from Kal-El's powers, or battery life could be Android's Kryptonite.

Nvidia has a veritable Justice League -- or Avengers' Mansion -- of high-speed chips in the works. Comic-strip heroes are lending their names to chips called Wayne, emerging from the Batcave in 2012, Logan, offering claws for concern in 2013, and Stark, ironing out any flaws in 2014.

About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.


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