The battle between the smartphone and tablet chipset manufactures is quite interesting, with Qualcomm, Samsung and Nvidia dominating the segment. The South Koreans have the Exynos chipsets fitted inside their flagship smartphones, Qualcomm is popular for its Snapdragon units, and Nvidia has the Tegra line-up.
While Samsung has its own devices to use the Exynos chipsets, Qualcomm and Nvidia are fighting to persuade as many manufacturers as possible to use their SoC for their terminals. In 2012 Qualcomm has dominated the smartphones segment with the Snapdragon S4 and Snapdragon S4 Pro making it inside flagships like Xperia T, Nexus 4, or HTC Droid DNA, while Nvdia’s Tegra 3 was the the first options when it came to tablets, being used for devices like ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity, Sony Tablet S, and most important, the popular Nexus 7.
According to Michael McConnell from the Pacific Crest, Google will choose Qualcomm over Nvidia manufacture the processor of the next-generation Nexus 7. The reason? Competitive prices and better 4G/LTE integration, which would allow the Mountain View-based giant to lower the production costs of the next Nexus 7, therefore, allowing it to continue to sell it for a mere $199.
As you’ve probably heard, Nvidia introduced the new Tegra 4 chipset at last month’s CES 2013 event. The Nvidia Tegra 4 is based on four Cortex A15 cores clocked at 1.9 GHz, plus a fifth core for the basics tasks that helps improving the battery life. Tegra 4 also comes with a 72-core GeForce ULP graphics processing unit, but the biggest problem of the new SoC is that it doesn’t integrate a LTE chip. Anyway, Nvidia gives the potential customers the option to add a LTE chip.
Even though Nvidia promised that the Tegra 4 will be 45% more battery friendly than the Tegra 3, Google has apparently lost interest in the company’s chipsets and the LTE integration seems to be the main reason.
The 4G LTE connectivity is a major selling point on the tablet market, too, so a LTE-friendly Nexus 7 would allow Google to fight against Apple’s iPad Mini, in this segment, too.
Qualcomm also introduced a new chipset at the Las Vegas-based tech show, the Snapdragon 800, but the company announced that the first terminals powered by the new SoC will be shipped in the second half of the year. Because all the reports are hinting that the next gen Nexus 7 will be announced in May at Google I/O event, the Snapdragon 800 is out of the question for the 7-inch tablet.
Rumor has it that the new Nexus 7 will come with a 7-inch full HD display and that it will be one of the first terminals on the market to run Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie out of the box. A higher-resolution display would help the Nexus 7 fight off the iPad Mini 2, sources claiming that Apple will fit a Retina Display on its next-gen 7.9-inch iOS tablet.
Everyone is expecting the next-gen Nexus 7 tablets to drop at the same price as last year’s releases: $199 for the 16 GB Nexus 7, $249 for the 32 GB model, and $250 for the WiFi+LTE variant.
We’ll definitely find out more about the new Nexus tablet in May, at Google I/O, where Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie is also expected to show up. Would you like the new Nexus 7 to have a Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset, or you would sacrifice LTE in favor of a more-powerful Nvidia Tegra 4 processor? Please leave a comment below.