Google is said to be operating on its own custom system-on-a-chip (SoC) for the next-generation Pixel handsets. The processor, which is being produced in partnership with Samsung, is expected to debut in the upcoming Pixel 6 later this year. The announcement follows Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s previous earnings call, on which he outlined “deeper investments in hardware” and teased a “terrific roadmap ahead” for 2021.
We had heard that Google’s Pixel 6 will be fuelled by the Snapdragon 775 or 780G, but according to a recent article from 9to5Mac, this is not the case. Google reports that this year will see the launch of a new in-house SoC codenamed “Whitechapel.” This will begin with the “GS101” chip in upcoming Pixel 6 phones, according to internal Google documents shared in the article.
The GS101 is being co-developed by Google and Samsung, which has extensive experience designing Exynos SoCs for its Galaxy Android handsets. According to a second article from XDA-Developers, the GS101 would have a three cluster configuration with a TPU (Tensor Processing Unit) for machine learning and an integrated security chip.
It’s also likely that Google’s long-term approach is to use in-house chips on all Pixel handsets and Chromebooks, close to how Apple uses A-series chips on iPhones and iPads and, more recently, M-series chips on laptops.
Google could be hoping for a higher level of control over Pixel hardware by closely combining hardware and software. It’s a bold decision for a low-volume commodity, but it might be a wise one if they succeed in creating a game-changing change to Google’s Pixel lineup.
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