If you're in a war, it helps to have Superman on your side. NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA) said yesterday at an investor conference that it has begun shipping its quad-core mobile chip and that tablets based on the design should be available in time for the holiday shopping season.

Code-named "Kal-El," after the birth name of the fictional superhero, the newest Tegra chip is designed to give makers of Android phones and tablets an edge over Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad and would-be rivals from Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) and Asian manufacturers.

CEO Jen-Hsun Huang seems confident, betting big on Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) operating system, using his speech at the conference to give fiscal 2013 revenue guidance that was well ahead of Street forecasts. NVIDIA now expects $4.7 billion to $5 billion in sales. Analysts had been calling for $4.45 billion.

The implication? NVIDIA sees a huge market for Android devices. Huang, in particular, said he expects Android tabs to get more functional and grab 50% of the overall market by 2015, trade magazine eWEEK reported.

NVIDIA is also planning on supplying Tegra designs to makers of Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows 8 tablet. Add it up, and you've got a chip maker that's trying to be to tablets what Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) has been to PCs. Or as Huang put it: "Aside from the two of us, there's really not too many people actively on the dance floor ... It's mostly us and Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) competing for most of the slots."

Gauntlet dropped. Good luck, Mr. Huang. This battle is going to get interesting.

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