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Will Google go with Qualcomm for next Nexus 7?

The Nexus 7 was Google’s first Nexus device with NVIDIA’s Tegra chipset, but it looks like the next generation of the 7-inch tablet could be ditching Tegra 4. According to Pacific Crest analyst Michael McConnell, Google is likely to request Qualcomm’s services for the next generation of the Nexus 7.

Specifically, he believes the next small Nexus Tablet will house Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro, or a close variation of it. The same chipset was featured in the elusive Nexus 4, and has proven to be a very smooth fitting for that particular device. Like Tegra 3, Tegra 4 is a 4+1 chipset, except it’s based on ARM’s latest Cortex-A15 architecture and is supposed to bring us massive gains in performance.

Google’s reasoning for possibly wanting S4 Pro is unclear, but the biggest reasons appear to be cost (Qualcomm seems to be cheaper) and “a decision to single-source the application processor and 3G/4G modem to simplify logistics and create a fully pin-compatible platform interface.”

Whatever the reason may be, we can’t say we’d be disappointed either way. 2013′s crop of chipsets all seem fantastic in their own ways, and we’re just excited to know that Google might soon be ready to introduce a new Nexus 7 at all. We may not see it at Google I/O, and we may not even see it before the the fall, but if something is coming then we’re fine with whichever route Google chooses to go.

[Barron's via Unwired View]

Continue reading on the Nexus 7 forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.




  • Jonathan DeJesus

    nVidia should stick to making gaming PCs. Tegra 4 doesn’t seem to be doing to well as companies and manufacturers are going with other options. I would love to have a T4 based on A15 architecture in any device I own. The GPU on that bad boy is amazing.

  • King_James_The_Wicked

    I am still very please with my original N7

  • Havoc70

    Tegra over Qualcomm any day thank you. Glad i already have my N7

    • malcmilli

      You must be one of the very very few who feel that way.

      • http://www.facebook.com/AGx07 Chris Brown-Demoreno

        Not really. I think Tegra is awesome. I would say something like Tegra 4 > S4 Pro > Tegra 3 though but I suppose we don’t really know what Tegra 4 works like and I doubt Google would be able to get Qualcomm’s next gen processors into the cheap Nexus 7 (though this may also be true for the Tegra 4 =)

        • malcmilli

          Well when you say “tegra over Qualcomm any day” I assume you referring to same generation chips. Tegra 3 over S4, tegra 3+ over S4 pro, and tegra 4 over snapdragon 600. I wouldn’t be mad at tegra 4 in nexus 7 I was just merely going over your statement.

  • RaviShah

    As much as I love tegra (i have a one x and n7) the one flaw with it is that developers never optimize games for it. I thought that with the n7′s popularity, this would change but it hasn’t. Nontegra games generally have lowered graphical effects and tend to be laggy. Looking at tegra optimized games its clear that tegra is capable of amazing things. no one takes advantage of it.

    • warren

      agreed!!! ^^^

    • vcarvega

      This is because there are not enough of them out there to persuade developers to code specifically for it. It’d be better if Android games came with graphics settings… As it is, it is more profitable for developers to develop for the lowest common denominator.

      • RaviShah

        Well I’m pretty sure the nexus 7 is one of the most popular tablets out there so you would think devs would optimize for it since so many people have it. By the way some games actually do have graphics settings. The first that comes to mind is beach buggy blitz.

  • Tim

    Well Qualcomm did accidentally leak KLP, if you ask me that’s a sign of something. That news combined with this does, in a way, link it all together.

  • Matthew Merrick

    Why does no one consider the Motorola Xoom a nexus? it was in EVERY respect except name. And it was running a Tegra 2 CPU.

    • No_Nickname90

      Maybe it’s because it doesn’t have the Nexus name. I could say the same the about the LG G2X. It ran stock Android. The HTC G2 had stock Android.

      Is that what you’re referring to?

      • hodayathink

        It was also the first device with Honeycomb (like most/all? Nexus devices are the first for a specific OS version), and basically got its updates about as straight from Google as they come.

        • No_Nickname90

          Oh!! OK. I didn’t know the updates came straight from Google.

          • warren

            Incorrect. Updates did NOT come direct from Goog’. Although back then they had been quoted numerous times naming the Xoom their unofficial tablet…it STILL ran motoblur, and every udpate STILL had to pass through Moto’s gauntlet of fire. it was the best built, and most powerful tablet available at the time, thats why Google showed such extra love for a “non-nexus”. the only other competition from Android was the Dell Streak (<–FAIL), which BTW was the first commercial tab with Tegra 2. google made sure Honeycomb was more than ready for prime time, but of course the manufacturers just didnt have any decent hardware that was respectable enough for Google to call their own, then..with the ipad alredy having a full year headstart Google could not afford to sit and wait for decent hardware w/ T2 chips to arrive. They made the right decision, "nexus" or not.

          • Matthew Merrick

            o_O i’ve used a Xoom. there is not one iota of motoblur on that thing – pure stock, than you very much. And i can point you to the raw source code of the software running on it, in some cases released BEFORE the corresponding nexus S ASOP software – absoutly no time for moto to interfere with the updates. So… i call BS on your comment.

          • warren

            ok, while you’ve “used”…I OWNED and DEVELOPED for that device. 3.0 & 4.0 were ABSOLUTELY skinned (albeit, slightly). You must not be able to recognize stock, pure, vanilla Android when you see it. Sooo..you can call whatever you want. thanks

          • Matthew Merrick

            As an owner of an iconia a500, i know exactly what vanilla 3.X looks like. honeycomb on the Xoom and a500 was completely identical. unless you’re saying that acer uses motoblur.

            Also, by looking at the Xoom 2/Xyboard, you can see what Motoblur’d honeycomb ACTUALLY looks like.

            EDIT: http://phandroid.com/2011/01/21/correction-from-motorola-no-plans-for-motoblur-on-the-xoom/

          • warren

            LOL the fact that you named the Iconia as an example clearly indicates that you have been completely ROBBED of a stock Android experience. the Iconia & Xoom were as stock as Asus line of transformer devices. Just becuase they didnt totally butcher the OS and updates were (surprisingly) timely, doesnt mean its stock. So…go grab your Xoom and your Iconia, check the icon packs and look at the widget selections……does NOT reflect pure Nexus…. n00b…

          • warren

            HUUUUGE differnce between a “Flagship Product” and a “Nexus” device.
            http://www.engadget.com/2011/0
            …n00b…

          • Matthew Merrick

            And you can’t even make a hyperlink work…noob.

          • Matthew Merrick

            Iconia a500 was pure stock until the 4.0 update, where Acer started messing with stuff. Yes, they tossed in a couple extra widgets at launch, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t stock Android, it just means it had a bit of bloat. Also, the only bloat on the xoom were Google apps some people didn’t want.

          • No_Nickname90

            Quite informative. I shall retain this knowledge.

          • Matthew Merrick

            (see my response to his post)

        • warren

          Incorrect. Updates did NOT come direct from Goog’. Although back then they had been quoted numerous times naming the Xoom their unofficial tablet…it STILL ran motoblur, and every udpate STILL had to pass through Moto’s gauntlet of fire. it was the best built, and most powerful tablet available at the time, thats why Google showed such extra love for a “non-nexus”. the only other competition from Android was the Dell Streak (<–FAIL), which BTW was the first commercial tab with Tegra 2. google made sure Honeycomb was more than ready for prime time, but of course the manufacturers just didnt have any decent hardware that was respectable enough for Google to call their own, then..with the ipad alredy having a full year headstart Google could not afford to sit and wait for decent hardware w/ T2 chips to arrive. They made the right decision, "nexus" or not.

          • vcarvega

            That’s not true. The Xoom did not use Moto Blur and did receive timely updates directly from Google up through Ice Cream… Not sure about Jelly Bean.

      • Matthew Merrick

        No, I’m referring to the fact that the Xoom was
        -Designed by Google, in collaboration with Motorola
        -Used as the launch device for 3.0, 3.1, and 3.2
        -Used as the reference tablet for 4.0, and the reference 10″ tablet for 4.1
        -Was updated to 4.0 and 4.1 alongside the Nexus S
        -Updates were handled 100% by Google, no Motorola involvment at all
        -4.0 and 4.1 updates were opensourced and added to the ASOP

        (keep in mind 3.X source code was, AFAIK, never released.)

        Sure as hell sounds like a Nexus to me.

        • No_Nickname90

          Hmm… Maybe the Nexus plan wasn’t as hyped up just yet. Maybe Google didn’t expect to go all out with it. Hmm…

          The 1st true Nexus Tablet, maybe? IDK… =./

        • Guest

          Incorrect. Updates did NOT come direct from Goog’. Although back then they had been quoted numerous times naming the Xoom their unofficial tablet…it STILL ran motoblur, and every udpate STILL had to pass through Moto’s gauntlet of fire. it was the best built, and most powerful tablet available at the time, thats why Google showed such extra love for a “non-nexus”. the only other competition from Android was the Dell Streak (<–FAIL), which BTW was the first commercial tab with Tegra 2. google made sure Honeycomb was more than ready for prime time, but of course the manufacturers just didnt have any decent hardware that was respectable enough for Google to call their own, then..with the ipad alredy having a full year headstart Google could not afford to sit and wait for decent hardware w/ T2 chips to arrive. They made the right decision, "nexus" or not

        • warren

          HUUUUGE differnce between a “Flagship Product” and a “Nexus” device.
          http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/21/motoblur-coming-to-xoom-as-software-update-still-considered-goo/
          …n00b…

  • No_Nickname90

    EVERY time an app starts downloading in the Play Store on my Nexus 7, my Nexus slows down tremendously. It’s like ALL the CPU power goes to downloading apps. And this is from ROM to ROM on different Kernels. Can I put the blame on the processor or am I like the only one having this problem? Because my device becomes almost unresponsive while downloading things from the play store.

    • RaviShah

      I thought this was a regular android thing. Happened on my nexus s and now my tegra one x and n7

      • No_Nickname90

        My Epic 4G Touch does slow down some. But it doesn’t become unusable. I can’t use my Nexus until those downloads finish. It’s not a slight reduction. It’s under-clocking to 200Mhz and trying to use the device. That’s what it feels like on my Nexus 7 when it’s downloading something from the Play Store.

        • RaviShah

          Oh interesting. I guess its a tegra 3 thing :/

          • Micha Ols

            Was the same on my Tegra 2 Optimus 2X Phone, is not the case on my S4 Pro Padfone 2.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Weisinger/548351406 Daniel Weisinger

      I think this is more of a storage issue than CPU. We never hear anything about read/write speeds and writing (installing) software can make reads take a huge hit.. causing it to be sluggish. I mean, that’s the only logical explanation I can think of… it can’t take a quad core processor to download something when single cores didn’t have an issue before.

      • No_Nickname90

        OK. I usually have like 1GB of space left on average. This makes sense. Dugh!! 16GB is just not enough. LoL!! I’ll start freeing up space. Thanks.

    • vcarvega

      Crazy. I don’t have this problem at all on the Evo 4G LTE and Nexus 10.

  • Butthurt iSheep are Butthurt

    After using the Tegra 3 for the past few months Im not a big fan of it, I’d welcome an Exynos or something else next time.

    • vcarvega

      Yea, I’d rather have the new Exynos 5 Octa… I’m really hoping that’s what is in the next nexus 10… But since I doubt it will be made by Samsung again, I don’t know.

  • vcarvega

    Hopefully it’s something next gen and not the S4 Pro. I’m more interested in the next nexus 10 than the nexus 7, but I’d like to see Google staying competitive with their chip set.

  • Ryan O’Neill

    Holding out for the next Transformers with Tegra 4 :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1911005 Thomas Edwards

    Using a Snapdragon Pro is obvious, just consider Google and Asus’ production schedules and SoC availability, they used Tegra 3 for the Nexus 7 v1 because the Tegra 3 was the next generation SoC first to market in 2012 and now the S4 Pro is the next, next generation SoC first to market in 2013. The Nexus 7 v2 is the easiet product design I could imagine, S4 Pro, 1080p screen, 16gb memory, 2gig RAM, lighter, thinner with KLP and ship to market for the monies … I just wish they would’ve created an 8 inch version with a rear camera and uSD card for 300$ to further diversify their product offerings and slap Apple across the face, but oh well.

    • Micha Ols

      µ <— here you go. Copy and paste as you please ;)

    • phor11

      Don’t forget front facing speaker.
      That is my #1 annoyance with tablet designs.
      It makes no sense to face the speaker away from you when you have tons of empty bezel space available.