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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Google may be working on its own processors for future Pixel phones

By switching from Qualcomm to its own SoC, Google can control both hardware and software.

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 15, 2020 12:11:21 pm
It would be disappointing news for Qualcomm, if Google switches to its own custom chips for future Pixel phones. (Image credit: AP)

Google wants to take a page out of Apple’s book by designing its own custom system-on-chip (SoC) for future Pixel phones and Chromebooks, reports Axios. The chipset, which is codenamed ‘Whitechapel’, is being designed with Samsung. The mysterious chip may have an eight-core ARM processor using Samsung’s 5-nanometer process.

Rumours of Google working on custom chipsets first surfaced in mid-2017 when the search engine giant poached an ex-Apple engineer. A year later Goole unveiled the Pixel Core Visual processor. Since then Google has announced the Titan M security chip and the Pixel Neural Core.

Although it’s too early to say when Google will be ready with its own custom Soc, the move would seriously impact Qualcomm. Qualcomm is the world’s biggest supplier of chips that powers modern smartphones. Google Pixel smartphones from the beginning have been powered by Qualcomm chips. For example, the Pixel 4 is powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor and the rumoured Pixel 4a will run on a Snapdragon 730 processor.

For Google, developing its own chipset is a natural progression. By switching from Qualcomm to its own SoC, Google can control both hardware and software. This way Google can compete with Apple, which has an end to end control on its hardware, software and chipset.

Did Google even want to launch the Pixel 4 in India? Maybe not

However, the biggest hurdle for Google is to fix its smartphone business first. Sales of its Pixel smartphones have been vastly below expectations. The problem with Google Pixel phones is the lack of purpose, and its broader position in the smartphone market. Without addressing those issues, Google cannot win the premium smartphone war.

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