Nvidia shows 3D games on an Android tablet

We may be no closer to seeing a true Android tablet on the market than we were in January at CES, but at least the tech demos are getting better.

At Google’s I/O conference, NVidia showed off a pair of 9-inch tablet prototypes running 3D games. One featured a simple football running play game, which you can see in action on YouTube, and the other is some sort of shooter, appearing in pictures at Gizmodo.

Nvidia shows 3D games on an Android tablet

Nvidia didn’t show off any other aspects of the software, and was cagey on hardware details as well. According to Engadget, the devices have 1 GB of RAM, a 1GHz ARM Cortex 9 CPU and of course Nvidia’s Tegra 2 tablet powering the graphics. There was also a front-facing camera that didn’t come into play. In addition to gaming, the prototypes can supposedly handle 720p video playback.

As Liliputing notes, the tablets are likely reference designs from Chinese manufacturer Foxconn, and Nvidia will shop the prototypes around to PC makers. There’s no word on when that will happen, or how much a device like this will cost.

I’m always excited for these kinds of tablet developments. I’m a fan of the tablet concept, and have already found that the iPad replaces most of my computing around the home that isn’t work-related. It’s nice to know that an Android tablet could be on par or even better than the iPad for 3D gaming.

At the same time, I’m frustrated by how slowly the rest of the market is catching up to Apple. The same issues I saw at CES — lots of shaky tablet prototypes but no products that seem anywhere near the market — haven’t improved since January.

There’s still hope for Computex Taipei, another trade show to be held at the beginning of June. Asus, Intel and MSI are said to be debuting tablets there. With any luck, they won’t be buggy, crash prone or trapped behind glass the whole time. Best case scenario? They actually go on sale soon after.