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Google allegedly working on its own processor for Pixel phones, Chromebooks

Google is co-making a processor that could power next year's Pixel phones.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | April 15, 2020 | Updated 13:10 IST
Pixel 4

Highlights

  • Google could be working on its processor.
  • The processor is codenamed Whitechapel.
  • It could debut on a Pixel phone as soon as next year.

Google could be working on its own processor for the Pixel phones and Chromebooks that could launch as early as next year. The initial versions of the chipset that Google is co-making with Samsung could power next year's Pixel phones but the Chromebooks could get some later versions. The processor is codenamed "Whitechapel" and is currently under development. Google has so far relied on Qualcomm's processor for its smartphones but that could change soon as the Mountain View-based company hopes to take a leap in the hardware manufacturing business.

According to a report by Axios, Google's "Whitechapel" processor will be built using the "state-of-the-art" 5-nanometre technology by Samsung. Samsung has a big-scale chipset manufacturing business. Samsung develops its Exynos processors that are used in its Galaxy-branded smartphones, smart speakers, tablets, and more. Samsung also supplies Exynos chips to other OEMs, such as Motorola. The South Korean company has also built chipsets for Apple in the past. It is not certain if the Whitechapel chipset will be some modified version of the Exynos chipset.

The Whitechapel processor may be an eight-core ARM-based processor that will be optimised to handle Google's Machine Learning functionalities. Google has a set of ML functions that its various apps use with or without the Internet. In the latter case, the functionality has to rely on the hardware more than it should. A portion of the chipset will also be dedicated to enhancing the performance of the Google Assistant and its "always-on" capabilities, the report has said. Google has seemingly received its first working versions of the Whitechapel chipsets but they are far from being usable for Pixel phones at least until next year.

Google's decision to manufacture its own chipsets, in collaboration with Samsung, could be a huge blow to its business with Qualcomm. All of the Nexus and Pixel phones have majorly housed a Qualcomm chipset, usually the top-end one. Even the watered-down versions of Pixel 3 -- the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL -- use a Qualcomm chip. At the same time, Google's own processor will take its fight against Apple to the next level. Apple was one of the first few companies to make their own processor. Google has also been developing some chips, such as Titan M and the Pixel Neural Core.

Google has not commented on the reported development.

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Tags: Google | Samsung
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