At this point it looks like Asus will get the deal to build the next Nexus 7, provided there is a next Nexus 7. Google is expected to launch an 8-inch Nexus in the first half of 2014, while the next Nexus 7 should appear sometime in the third quarter, if Google sticks to the current update cycle.
Asus has some experience with Bay Trail devices, namely the Windows loving T100 hybrid. Building another device based on the same Z3740 or Z3770 chip should not be a problem. From a performance perspective, both of these parts would wipe the floor with the Snapdragon APQ8064 used in the current Nexus 7.
However, they are relatively pricey and the only way they would make financial sense is if Intel offers Google a sweetheart deal, subsidizing every chip it ships. This is not impossible, Intel wants a slice of the Android pie and spending a bit of cash to land a high-profile design win makes perfect sense. This would also send a message to the market, proving that Intel has what it takes to battle ARM in the mobile space.
We must stress that Google’s Nexus tablet strategy is somewhat baffling. First of all the new Nexus 10 is still missing in action. Many still believe Google’s grand plan for 2014 would revolve around three products, the new Nexus 8 priced at $299, Nexus 10 at $399 and a discounted second-generation Nexus 7 at $199 (or less). If that is the case, perhaps it would make a bit more sense to use powerful Bay Trail chips in the Nexus 8 or the Nexus 10, leaving the Nexus 7 with a cheaper ARM processor. However, the Nexus 8 is ARM-based, while the Nexus 10 simply isn’t being leaked at all – and the leaks that did show up pointed to an ARM chip.
It would be a nice PR coup for Intel, but right now it just seems like FUD and games.