One of the most surprising things about NVIDIA's pre-computex press conference yesterday was the lack of truly new information. Instead CEO Jen-Sen Huang implored us to wait a few more months for news about tablets using NVIDIA's ARM-based Tegra CPU and devoted most of the two hour conference to some lf NVIDIA's favourite subjects, Tessellation and 3D.
According to Huang "the tablet is legitimately the first new computer category that this industry has created in a long time". NVIDIA sees the tablet as a product focused at lesiure computing, where consumption of rich media such as magazines and newspapers goes hand in hand with console-like gaming and flash based web media.
The mention of the importance of Flash was not just a slight dig at Apple, it allowed Huang to claim that NVIDIA's Tegra was the first processor to support true lesiure computing.
The giant leap that is tesellation
After imploring the audience to be patient waiting for tablets, he moved his sights from Apple to areas in which NVIDIA has advantages over the more traditional competitor, ATI. The first was Tesselation in the Fermi based GPUs (oddly, he made no mention of the new mid-range GeForce GTX 465 card, which is being launched at Computex.).
Using tessellation based benchmarks like Stone Giant and Unigine he explained to the audience just how much of a leap tessellation was over previous generations of video hardware. What was shown was impressive, however like an such technologies it remains to be seen just how fast the uptake will be by game developers.
The 3D PC
The vast majority of the presentation was dedicated to what Huang calls the 3D PC. This is an expansion of last year's 3D Vision technology into primetime, and involved the assembled press having to don 3D glasses and watch a series of 3D presentations.
New ASUS 3D laptop
He brought ASUS CEO Jerry Chen to the stage to announce an expansion of ASUS' 3D capable product lines. First was a new 3D laptop, G51JX-EE, which has an inbuilt 3D Vision transmitter (current products need a special IR transmitter plugged in via USB). Chen then unveiled a new all-in-one system designed for 3D gaming, the et2400pc and then talked about a three-screen, GeForce GTX 480 based, desktop system, the cg5930.
Also taking the stage was CEO of Cyberlink, Alice Chang, to talk about 3D Blu-Ray, which is supported in the latest high end version of Power DVD. They deftly avoided the lack of 3D Blu-Ray content and instead showed off a Blu-Ray version the 3D trailer for Toy Story 3.
Web videos in 3D using Silverlight
The presentation wrapped up with a demo of Microsoft's Silverlight technology running 3D video. In this case it was the 'world premier' of a 3D version of the recently released We are the World Haiti relief video. Apparently the upcoming soccer World Cup will be streamed by several websites in 3D using Microsoft's Silverlight 4
While the press conference was full of glitz and glamour, and featured some impressive technological demos, it was more defined by the absence of information on important products like tablets.