Google readies its own chip for future Pixels, Chromebooks

Joanna Estrada
April 15, 2020

It would be a blow to Qualcomm, which supplies processors for many current high-end phones, including the Pixel. It was also claimed that the new chipset would have eight Arm Cortex cores (two unannounced Cortex-A78 cores, two Cortex-A76 cores, and four Cortex-A55 cores), an Arm MP20 GPU based on its Borr architecture, and Google's own NPU and visual core.

Google has supposedly been given working versions of the chip in recent weeks, but you still shouldn't expect them in the Pixel 5 later this year.

The chip itself is said to be an 8-core ARM-based platform meant to power smartphones and, down the road, potentially other mobile devices like Chromebooks as well.

Some of its silicon will also be given over to improving the performance and "always-on" capabilities of Google Assistant, according to the report.

Gizmodo reached out to Google for an official statement on the matter, but the company declined to comment.

But by emulating Apple and taking control over development of its own custom processors, Google could have more control over the hardware its software runs on, enabling the company to optimize performance.

Google has been gradually building its semiconductor capabilities.

The new hardware is expected to have a portion of it dedicated for Google's machine learning technology with a view to improving the on-device Google Assistant functionality, speed and features. A shortcoming in any one area could force Google to stick with an existing chipmaker. Not that Qualcomm makes a bad product or anything, but the company has no competition and is the default chipset supplier for everyone outside of Huawei phones (which you can't buy), a couple of Samsung phones running inferior Exynos chips, and some random players who choose MediaTek.

Axios reports that Google "has made significant progress" toward that end, and that we could see Pixel smartphones with Google processors as soon as 2021, with Chromebooks featuring the company's chips later on.

Axios says the new processor is designed by Google and will be manufactured on Samsung's 5nm process, citing a source familiar with Google's plans in this regard. Subsequent versions of Google's chip could power Chromebooks, but that's likely to be even further off.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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