Hot on the heels of Nvidia's announcement of their Tegra 4i mobile processor, the company has announced the reference device that will be the first to see this new technology, the Phoenix reference phone. Eldar Murtazin predicted this sort of thing a few weeks ago. Although this device isn't meant for the general public's consumption that doesn't make it any less of a story. This handset will actually be given to developers and manufacturers in hopes of optimizing their wares to play nice with the new processor.
If you feel like you've heard this song before, you're correct. Last year with the introduction of the Tegra 3 processor, Nvidia produced the Kai tablet platform. The Kai gave developers a blueprint with which to produce some of the best tablets we've seen and for short dollars at that.... The Nexus 7 anyone?
Along with the new processor the Phoenix will feature a 5 inch 1080p screen and it will only be 8mm thick. The Tegra 4i will have will have it's i500 LTE modem integrated into the chip itself. That means that it will be much smaller than the Tegra 4 since on that processor the i500 is optional.
In the new Phoenix we will see improved Prism technology from the Tegra 3, This will be called Prism 2. This allows for improved pixel intensity and saturation management. Users will now get improved battery life without the "visual quality" suffering. This is accomplished by reducing the backlight on the display.
Another feature that's sure to be a hit is the Chimera computational photography architecture. This will make all of you photophiles very happy. Among the things present in chimera on the Phoenix phone will be persistent Tap-to-Track, HDR Panorama, and Always-On HDR. Tap to track is a cool feature where you can pick one object to focus on and the camera will stay with it whether your subject moves or not. HDR panoramic mode not only gives the user the ability to take conventional panoramic photos but also diagonal and north to south panoramas. Finally the persistent HDR allows for multiple photos to be taken so that the finished picture will appear "similar to how the human eye sees the world".
Nvidia is taking a great approach in order to get their new platform out to the masses. If a lot of the success of last years tablet innovations were a result of the Kai tablet, then we can expect to see the same thing happen with smartphones this year.