Logan’s Run: NVIDIA’s Kepler moves to revolutionize mobile devices

Posted by Rob Enderle

Kepler is Nvidia's lead graphic card technology. Typically, such graphics tech wouldn’t be capable of running on a mobile device - most of which simply lack the necessary electrical horsepower to drive it.

Yes, you could try, yet your battery life would be measured in seconds - with a phone that would probably permanently brand your nether region if you were unfortunate enough to have it in your pocket.

Well, apparently Nvidia didn’t get this memo and as a result of a project code-named "Logan" the company managed to get the power down to an amazing 2 watts - a whopping 248 watts less than their professional Titan card used in high end gaming rigs. They showcased the amazing result at SIGGRAPH 2013 this week. Clearly, Nvidia plans to take the mobile market by storm using their graphics advantage. So let’s talk about what that could mean for future products.

Ira Beats Up Siri

As with any new technology Nvidia brings to the table, there is always a key app that will showcase it. Working with a team of behaviorists and animators, they created a face to go with the voice folks are now getting from their phone when they want answers. I had great hopes for this technology because Nvidia has a history of using good looking women or scantily clad fairies (also female) to showcase these capabilities.

Well, Nvidia surprised us all with Ira, a middle age bald guy. Now the experience is wicked cool because you actually get what looks to be a face that goes along with the voice and has expressions. However, were it me, I’d have gone the female route or at least provide the option because having a middle aged bald guy talking out of my phone wasn’t at all what Iwas expecting.

Granted, technologies like Siri can kind of get obnoxious at times and you’ll likely feel a lot less guilty slapping around a middle age guy than a cute fairy. But still…. In any case the technology is pretty amazing and strangely enough reminds me of a prototype product Philips showcased back in the 90s, long before the iPhone or iPod, which had a an automated animated head like Ira (but I think she was better looking). Having a face is certainly better than just dsembodied voice but I’m kind of hoping version two will be hotter. I’m hoping a lot.

Hand Held Gaming

Nvidia clearly will be positioning this technology against the hand held gaming opportunity and it should do amazing things for the next generation of Windows RT, Tegra based tablets and smartphones. Logan should mark a huge jump in performance for this class system and make the related games optimized for the technology almost jump off the screen. This could be pretty amazing because it should approach what you get on a big screen on a small one - allowing users to blow up the image onto their TV, creating a vastly more impressive and dramatic result.

Wrapping Up: The Next Generation of Tablets and Smartphones

This last generation of tablets and smartphones was about screen size (tablets getting smaller and phones larger) and faster data networks. The next generation will be about capturing and enjoying high quality media in improved cameras and vastly optimized graphics systems. Nvidia plans to be a major part of that wave when it brings out Logan and put Ira in our pocket. OK that last just seems wrong somehow. I am so hoping Ira gets replaced by Irene really, really quickly.