Next generation Nexus 7 to favour Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro over Nvidia Tegra 4: Report

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Last week we reported that Asus and Google are pairing up once again to launch the next generation Nexus 7 that is likely to feature a full-HD display. Now fresh reports indicate that this next iteration of Google's Nexus 7 tablet will favour a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chip instead of Nvidia's Tegra 4 SoC.

Pacific Crest analyst Michael McConnell apparently wrote in a memo that Google is probably opting for the Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 chip over the Tegra 4 chip because Qualcomm is willing to offer a better deal and also due to the S4 Pro's better integration with 3G and 4G modem technology.

"Supply chain conversations indicate two reasons for Google's selection of the Snapdragon APQ8064 over Tegra 4: (1) competitive pricing and (2) a decision to single-source the application processor and 3G/4G modem to simplify logistics and create a fully pin-compatible platform interface", wrote McConnell in the memo.

He further believes that the next generation Nexus 7 will begin shipping in the second quarter of this year. That seems to coincide with the search giant's Google I/O event, where it might be announced. Part of McConnell's memo reads, "We believe NVIDIA has lost the application processor socket to Qualcomm's Snapdragon APQ8064 chipset (S4 Pro) in the next-generation Google Nexus 7 tablet, which is scheduled to begin shipment in 2Q13."

McConnell also cut his Tegra sales estimate for the fiscal year ending next January to $525 million from $750 million. He further estimates that at an average price of $20 to $25 per Tegra processor it will mean an "adverse revenue impact of $200 million to $250 million."

The Tegra 4, previously codenamed "Wayne", was unveiled at CES 2013 and features 72 custom Nvidia GeForce GPU cores, giving it six-times the graphics processing power of the current Tegra 3. The Tegra 4 also comes with worldwide support for 4G LTE voice and data by utilising the optional fifth-generation Nvidia Icera i500 chipset.

According to previous reports, the tablet will sports a thinner frame and retain the first-gen pricing between $199-$249. If it launched at Google's I/O event in May, then we'd expect it to run on Android Key Lime Pie out of the box.

Earlier supply chain sources have mentioned that the combined sales of the first and second generation Nexus 7 tablets is expected to reach 10 million units in 2013.

Last month, we heard rumours of a Nexus 7.7 being developed as a sequel to Google's current Nexus 7 tablet. The leaked specs include a 7.7-inch WUXGA display (1920x1200, 294 PPI), 720p HD rear and front cameras, an Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, 2GB RAM and internal storage options of 8/16GB.

The tablet is expected to be priced starting $299 for the 8GB model. Though there aren't any mentions about which version of Android the this variant will be powered by, we're assuming Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie again. Is this a separate tablet from Google? We'll find out soon enough.

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