A new post on Intel's blog indicates the firm is experimenting with real-time ray-tracing on mobile devices:
Ultra mobile devices have become very popular in the last several years, and some of them such as the Nintendo DS and Playstation Portable have grown hugely popular in the gaming segment. Gaming on Ultra Mobile PCs (or UMPCs) is a newer concept, and Intel has been investing in technology that will allow the productivity and gaming capabilities of a PC to fit in the palm of your hand - or the pocket of your shirt. The Sony* VAIO UX Micro PC is one such example, and at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Daniel Pohl is showing how Ray-Tracing can scale to even the smallest of personal computers.
How is this possible, you might ask?
It’s because Ray-Tracing draws a scene in 3D by tracing rays of light from the pixels on the screen, to the surfaces of objects in view. And in the case of a UMPC, when one is viewing 3D space from the viewable area of a 4.5” LCD screen, fewer rays are required, and hence, the CPU requirements are substantially less. For example, you might prefer viewing a high definition (1280x720 resolution) display on your PC, but with the much smaller viewable area on a Sony VAIO UX Micro PC, smaller resolutions may be quite acceptable (such as 480x272, for example). Using this lower resolution, it would only require 8% of the CPU requirements that had been needed to render in high definition. To put this into perspective, a 480x272 screen is two and a half times the resolution of the Nintendo DS (per display, at 256x192).