The Nexus 8 will likely be one of the first tablets to feature Intel’s 64-bit Moorefield SoC.
Last month VR-Zone reported Google was looking to axe the Nexus 7 series and launch a Nexus 8 tablet instead. The 8-inch tablet is slated for a July launch, a month after Google’s I/O conference. Asus is said to be the front-running candidate to get the manufacturing deal, although it has been rumored that Lenovo and HTC are also in the mix.
While not much is known about the tablet in general, it has been rumored that the Nexus 8 will feature Intel’s 64-bit Atom Z3580 “Moorefield” SoC, a quad-core variant of Merrifield that clocks at 2.3 GHz. The Moorefield SoC features Intel’s XMM 7260 LTE category 6 modem that can utilize carrier aggregation technologies to deliver more bandwidth.
Intel claims that the XMM 7260 will be along the same level as Qualcomm’s Gobi 9×35 LTE modem, which is considered to be the benchmark in this segment. However, the fact that the XMM 7260 is built on TSMC’s 28nm process, while the 9×35 modem is built on a 20 nm manufacturing process. In the end, Intel might consider offering the XMM 7260 at a lower price point to Qualcomm’s 9×35 to lure in more customers. The 3G XMM 6260 was a widely used modem and was known for its cost-effectiveness, so it is likely that Intel will be undertaking a similar strategy with the XMM 7260.
Another feature of note on Moorefield is the GPU, which is a PowerVR G6430 GPU. Clocked at 533 MHz, the GPU is the said to be twenty times faster to PowerVR’s series 5 offerings, and five times more efficient. Intel has mentioned that the Z3580 would be commercially available from the third quarter.
In addition to announcing the new mobile offerings, Intel has also stated that it has signed multi-year agreements with Lenovo, Asus, Dell and Foxconn. Asus and Lenovo are said to launch mobiles and tablets that feature Atom hardware later this year. Therefore, it is likely that a Nexus 8 tablet manufactured by Asus would feature Intel’s hardware and also be a “contra revenue” offering from Intel. But for such a device to dully leverage the 64-bit processor, Google needs to launch a 64-bit version of Android.