Google’s reportedly working on its own chips for future Pixel phones and Chromebooks
In the world-dominating smartphone, tablet and laptop game, being able to design and produce your own chipsets is arguably the holy grail, untying you from obligations and drawbacks associated with other manufacturers’ supply chains and models.
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Apple’s been in that Eden for some time, making its own chips for its devices and reaping the rewards, and it makes perfect sense that Google would seek to follow in its footsteps, and downgrade its reliance on Qualcomm’s chips.
Hence, we’re interested to read that Axios has sources that say Google’s making good progress in this area, working on a chip currently codenamed Whitechapel, which has been developed with Samsung. This is tied to the fact that Samsung would likely manufacture the chip, as it does for Apple’s, alongside its own.
In fact, the chip is apparently in a prototyping phase with working versions now in Google’s hands, demonstrating that this isn’t a half-baked scheme. However, that doesn’t mean implementation is imminent: expect at least another year before these could be powering Google’s devices.
For now, it’s a mobile-aimed chip, too, but down the line it would make perfect sense for Google to also take a look at its Chromebook processors with the same idea, while any tablet it ever made could have a similar approach.
Do you want chips with that?
Reiterating the importance of Google Assistant to Google’s overall plans, the 8-core processor will apparently have hardware specifically designed around an always-on section for the Assistant’s work and responses.
As the Pixel line has developed, Google has added more and more of its own custom chips to the phones to power features, from machine learning to imagery AI, so this is an unsurprising development of that thinking.
However, it’s also, of course, hugely subject to change, with any number of factors including performance and cost-efficiency likely to impact on whether and when Google actually takes the plunge and uses its own chips. We’ll keep an ear to the ground for any more news.