Kal-El has had a long journey to Earth, and now that it has arrived, our yellow sun has truly bestowed it with superpowers never before seen on this terrestrial planet.

NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA) has just officially launched its Tegra 3 mobile processor, which is the world's first quad-core mobile chip. Previously codenamed "Kal-El" after Superman's Kryptonian name, the chip is being justifiably touted by NVIDIA for its impressive specs, and it gives CEO Jen-Hsun Huang plenty of reasons to be bullish.

Built on ARM Holdings (Nasdaq: ARMH) architecture and clocked at 1.3 GHz, the chip will deliver "PC-class performance levels," NVIDIA promises, while reducing power consumption by as much as 61% compared to the last generation. Graphics performance is supposed to triple, while battery life can top out at 12 hours, notably besting Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) 10-hour iPad battery.

Source: NVIDIA press release.

The chip even includes a fifth "Companion" core, which is meant for ultra-low power consumption and tasks that don't need as much horsepower, which helps boost battery life. The four primary cores kick in when some serious heavy lifting is required. As a longtime gamer, I'm particularly impressed with the graphics performance that these chips are capable of.

Source: NVIDIA press release.

The company was kind enough to also include some screenshots, as its been working closely with a handful of mobile game developers. It's pretty mind-boggling to think that mobile gaming can provide an experience on par with dedicated gaming consoles, and it speaks to how quickly mobile processing is evolving.

The first device to run on the chip is the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, and it boasts hardware to make any spec snob drool. The tablet will rock a 10.1-inch IPS display covered in Corning (NYSE: GLW) Gorilla Glass, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1.2-megapixel front shooter, 1 GB of RAM, and 32 GB or 64 GB of onboard storage. It will run Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android.

Available in early December, it will run at the same entry-level price of the iPad at $499, but that will fetch you twice the entry storage, with 32 GB. They call it the Transformer Prime because you can also buy a keyboard dock for $149 that effectively converts it into a laptop.


Source: NVIDIA press release.

While Android tablet competition has thus far lacked any credible threat to the iPad, the Transformer Prime might actually be a potential contender.

Next year promises a slew of other quad-core mobile CPUs, including Qualcomm's (Nasdaq: QCOM) Snapdragon, Texas Instruments' (NYSE: TXN) OMAP 5, and Apple's A6. However, the unifying theme behind all of them is ARM Holdings technology, which is exactly why I bought shares. We'll have to wait until 2012 to see if NVIDIA's first-mover advantage will keep it ahead of the pack.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.