Chip maker Intel looks set to have some significant new competition in 2011, not necessarily for the computer desktop but certainly in portable/tablet/embedded applications.

Graphics chip maker Nvidia has reportedly been kicking a few goals of late with its new Tegra 2 processor. So much so that reports the Tegra 2 chip will power tablet devices from a range of name-brand vendors including Acer, Asus, Toshiba and Samsung during 2011.

The report suggests that Tegra 2-based products could “have a chance” of accounting for half the ARM-based tablets shipped during next year.

Nvidia’s latest processor is part of a growing family of ARM-based chips that are designed to power portable devices. Qualcomm is another maker of ARM chips, used in HTC’s lineup of Android phones, including the Wildfire and Desire models.

While Intel’s Atom processor is probably best known for powering low-cost netbook computers, the chip giant has been spruiking its mini processor as an option for a range of portable devices.

It’s also powering the beta versions of Google’s Chrome OS notebook that is starting to appear on various news sites. The Cr-48 test n0tebooks running the first betas of Google’s instant-on operating system are powered by the Atom N455 processor.

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