The Nexus 8 will be the first big tablet break for Intel, but is Bay Trail-T ready?
Word from Taipei has it Google will be turning to Asus to manufacture the next tablet device in the Nexus line, the Nexus 8, and this tablet will be powered by an Intel SoC.
This information comes from local Taipei tech rumor tabloid Digitimes, which usually has a low accuracy rate. However with Asus, Digitimes’ accuracy jumps a few notches as the publication has had its share of wins when predicting what’s to come from this Taiwan OEM.
According to Digitimes, the Nexus 8 will debut after in the spring after February’s Mobile World Congress. Google is turning to the 8-inch form factor and won’t be making an effort to refresh the 7-inch model because of what it perceives as weak demand.
Intel and Qualcomm are both said to be bidding on producing the tablet’s SoC with Intel being the apparent favorite to produce the device’s silicon.
Should the tablet debut with Intel’s Bay Trail -T inside it would be a major win for Intel, but there are still a number of pressing concerns with the platform. As VR-Zone reported in early November, Bay Trail is simply not ready for Android.
At a demo session in Taipei in November, Intel was showing off a few tablet models running Windows on Bay Trail, but there were only reference designs for Android. There are a plethora of compatibility issues, starting with webGL (it should be noted that there are Atom tablets running Android in the market, but they do not have the Bay Trail architecture).
It’s also questionable just how long Bay Trail – T will last on the market. Intel’s truly competitive mobile chip, Cherry Trail, will be produced using the 14nm process node and is expected sometime this year. The Nexus 8 may be using an outdated chip if it launches in 2014 with Bay Trail – T.
There’s one thing that separates Bay Trail from the competition in the mobile space: money. While on paper Qualcomm may have the better chip for the platform, Intel could deploy the fund earmarked for subsidizing the inclusion of Atom in tablets to get Bay Trail in the Nexus line. This fund will also help subsidize any additional costs manufacturers incur from using Intel chips. Brian Krzanich spoke about this tactic, called “contra revenue”, during Intel’s most recent earnings call.
“The majority of projects we have in 2014 use some level of contra revenue,” he said. “This is not a price reduction; it’s truly a bill of materials cost equalizer.”
There are two possible official reveal dates for the Nexus 8: Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February or the Google I/O event in May. Google will likely prefer its own event for such a launch, as the sheer volume of announcements at MWC will steal the spotlight.
More details will likely be available in the weeks to come.