Formerly known as a quad-core system with a fifth low power companion core, or vSMP, NVIDIA has just put out the word that its new Tegra 3 architecture will be known as "4-PLUS-1". (We were kind of partial to Ninja Core ourselves.)
It's the same four-core Cortex A9 system on chip that we talked about a while ago, it's still just as fast, and still goes easy on your battery. It just has a hip new name that's nice and easy to say while being descriptive about what's going on under the hood. We love hardware vendors who make things easier on us. NVIDIA, which is trademarking the 4-PLUS-1 moniker, says it needed a user-friendly name after getting some customer feedback. Makes sense, and 4-PLUS-1 will certainly look good on a box that holds the next hot tablet we all lust after.
The Tegra 3 chip uses the fifth core in a unique way -- it's active when not a lot of CPU power is needed, and handles things in the background like checking for new mail and watching video. This leaves the other four high-performance cores ready to kick in when needed, and uses much less juice from your battery while they are idle. It's unique, and it's great to see anyone doing things that give us a longer time between charges. One thing we're sure of, is that when all four of the high-speed cores are going, that sucker is fast. They're updated their white paper about the Tegra 3, and you can find it right here.
Also of interest, they also let us know that we'll be hearing the 4-PLUS-1 name quite a bit at Mobile World Congress next week. We've heard rumors of devices from HTC and others using the Tegra 3 platform, and we're sure that we'll see more starting Sunday in Barcelona. Phil and Alex will be spending the week there, so we'll keep you guys on top of everything 4-PLUS-1 related, as well as all the other news.