If reports are to be believed, Google is making its own chipset for its upcoming portable devices. After entering the hardware game (albeit partially) with Chromebook and Pixel, the big-G is reportedly working on its own chip. Here’s all we know about it.
The news of Google working on its own chip is exciting because that would finally get us a legit competitor to Apple. Apple, if you didn’t know, manufacturers and optimizes their chips, which results in a flawless, friction-less performance and user experience. As of now, Google uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips for the CPU.
Google’s upcoming in-house chip could make use of all of Google’s machine learning prowess, which would result in a much better performance overall.
Google has reportedly already received the first working prototype of their in-house chip, and it’s code-named “Whitechapel”. It is said to be designed in collaboration with Samsung and is built on the state-of-the-art 5nm process. Samsung has also manufactured Apple’s chips and its own Exynos chips.
Google is said to be internally testing the chip. However, the new chip are said to be ready to power the Pixel phones next year. This year’s Pixel 5 is said to pack a Qualcomm chip. Subsequent versions and models of Google’s chips could also power Chromebooks, but that isn’t expected any earlier than 2022.
In addition to an octa-core ARM processor, Whitechapel is also said to pack some additional hardware optimized for Google’s machine learning tech. A portion of the chip is also said to focus on performance improvement of the Google Assistant.
But aren’t Pixel phones using Google chips already? They are. Pixels use custom Google chips for things like machine learning and image co-processing, alongside the Snapdragon SoCs. The company has also reportedly been hiring chip-experts from hardware rivals like Apple and Intel.
Given that competitors like Apple, Huawei, and Samsung have been using their own chips for some time now, there’s an obvious incentive fro Google to break from Qualcomm and make in-house SoCs tuned for its own devices. Getting rid of Qualcomm silicon at this point would not be realistically possible because a phone (or any other PDA) needs more hardware alongside the CPU, like cellular modems and graphics processing units, and it might take some time for Google to make everything on their own.
Apple was the first one to make their own processors, and it’s good to see Google follow the same path. The same brand making hardware and software means they can have total control over the performance and tuning of the device, and that’s something every device manufacturer would want.
But what after the Google chip for Pixels and Chromebooks? For smartwatches, maybe? For other home-appliances and smart IoT products? Who knows!