Analyst: next generation of Nexus 7 will run on Snapdragon S4 Pro chip, not Tegra 4

by: Bogdan PetrovanFebruary 7, 2013

Nvidia logo CES [aa] (2)

Last year, Nvidia failed to give Qualcomm a run for its money when it comes to smartphones, but the quad-core Tegra 3 chip made a splash in the market tablet, with big wins such as the Nexus 7, the Transformer line, and the Microsoft Surface.

According to a Wall Street analyst, Nvidia might not enjoy a similar success in 2013, with Google reportedly ditching the Tegra 4 SoC in favor of the more competitive Snapdragon S4 Pro.

Michael McConnell from the Pacific Crest investment firm has trimmed his estimates for the Santa Clara-based company after “supply chains conversations” indicated that Google has opted for a System on a Chip made by Qualcomm.

According to McConnell, Google chose the Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 chip over Tegra 4 for two reasons – competitive pricing and a better integration with 3G/4G modem technology, which would allow the maker of the Nexus 7 to cut costs and simplify logistics.

McConnell also writes that the new Nexus 7 is scheduled to begin shipment in the second quarter of 2013, but it’s not clear if he knows that for a fact or if it’s just an educated guess.

This report ties in with previous gossip that suggested manufacturers are not very interested in the new Tegra 4 chip, despite the massive performance improvements over Tegra 3 that Nvidia promised. So far, we know about a few manufacturers that will be using Tegra 4, including Toshiba and Vizio.

The new Tegra 4 chip was revealed by Nvidia during CES, and features four Cortex A15 CPU cores and a powerful 72-core GPU, that is supposedly six times faster than the GPU on Tegra 3. Nvidia has not integrated cellular connectivity on Tegra 4, although the company does offer an “add-on” LTE modem.

We’ve reached out to Nvidia for an official comment, and we’ll update the post as soon as we get more info.

  • dNj

    Now this is fragmentation. When a user is forced to buy multiple Android devices just to be able to play Tegra games.

    • corona10

      Different chip sets has nothing to do with fragmentation

  • Grey

    Toshiba s not the only one with a Tegra 4 tablet. During CES, Vizio showed its Tegra 4 based tablet.

  • I hope manufacturers skip Nvidia chips. Nvidia has proven over and over all they want to do is force you to need their products to run games by paying game developers to lock you into their products. They did it on the PC now they are up to their same old tricks on android.

    • You are right about android, but in the PC world nVidia ain’t got nothing on AMD. 3D vision, drivers updated weekly, and they are more durable. All of the radeons that I have had lived short lives :(

      • chris

        Radeon is AMD? And NVidia has always been neck and neck or ahead of AMD for gaming.

        • Yes…. AMD makes the radeon GPU’s, and I agreee that was the whole point of my comment that nvidia is better than AMD in everything except for price

        • NicholasMicallef

          Radeon is the name of the product line by AMD (ex ATi). I’d say nVidia rule in terms of performance, AMD rule in terms of bang for the buck.

      • NicholasMicallef

        I agree in terms of performance, but if someone were to ask me what GPU I would choose on a rather tight budget, it would be a 7850. AMD cards offer way better bang for the buck (since the HD 4K series at least). I would choose nVidia over AMD if budget is not so tight, something such as a 670 is awesome

  • Filip Justin

    Good move, though I heard that the S4 Pro overheats..

    • Simon Belmont

      It doesn’t overheat, per se. In the Nexus 4 it was throttled back for some reason when it gets to a certain temperature. Most likely due with how it’s packaged in the phone. Small space, etc.

      On the LG Optimus G that the N4 is based on, there is no thermal throttling or heat issues. It runs fast.

  • Steve

    My hopes and dreams were ruined. I was looking forward to the tegra 4 processor this year in tablets. Oh well, this just increases the chance they will be purchased by Intel.

  • Simon Belmont

    Sorta makes sense. The N4 has an S4 Pro, so the refreshed N7 using that seems like a good fit.

    I’ll be honest, though, I have no problem with the Tegra 3 in my 32GB N7 (Christmas gift). It’s great for what I need.

  • Simon Belmont

    This makes sense to me. The N4 uses an S4 Pro, so the refreshed N7 using it seems like a good fit.

    Though, to be honest, I’ve enjoyed the Tegra 3 in my N7. Of course, that was coming from a single core OMAP3 in my B&N Nook Color (CM10), and a dual core Snapdragon S3 in my HP TouchPad (CM9/CM10), both which still perform very well.