Keep an eye on your neighborhood electronics store to stay on top of the next handheld invasion. What's next in the mobile computing market is a veritable flood of tablet computers hitting retail shelves any day now.

I'm not just talking about the long-rumored Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) tablet, or iSlate. The likes of Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) are in the first wave of devices, too, and we're bound to see lots of product announcements as the hardware guys fill out the glaring gap in their product lines between netbook PCs and smartphones.

And the jockeying is just as intense behind the scenes. The Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) SnapDragon chipset is the current performance leader, and promises to show up in plenty of high-powered tablets. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) wants to grab a slice of this pie with its Atom chips. Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN) has a fourth generation of its OMAP processor ready to drive high-def video and serious computing on these smallish gadgets.

And in another corner, NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) seems to be reaching for a very specific slice of the tablet market. The Tegra 250 processor, which NVIDIA introduced last week at the CES trade show in Las Vegas, comes with a bushel of graphics-processing horsepower and a long history of gaming expertise.

While NVIDIA took pains to tout the new chip's high-def video playing abilities, and pitched it for a variety of tech platforms including smartphones, the obvious takeaway from the information we've seen is that the Tegra 250 kicks butt in 3-D games. This bad boy brings gameplay into handheld systems that was only seen on high-end desktop computers a couple of years ago. If you're hanging on to a PC that's a few years old, chances are that NVIDIA's tablet systems will outperform it.

So NVIDIA is sticking with a new spin on the market it knows best: gaming. I expect to see gaming tablets hitting store shelves within the next few months, and NVIDIA looks like an obvious choice for the system builders. Many of these tablets are based on Google's Android, and should have a wealth of gaming opportunities.

NVIDIA should easily build a firm grip on the handheld gaming niche market. Given how quickly consumers took to the smartphone revolution, I'd be surprised if the Tegra didn't generate significant sales for NVIDIA in 2010.

How would you invest in the tablet computer sector? Share your thoughts in the comments below

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Intel is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick and a Motley Fool Options Buy Calls recommendation. Apple and NVIDIA are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.