It appears Google might dump Qualcomm Snapdragon and launch home-made SoC to power its future hardware, according to a report from Axios.
The tech giant has already “made significant progress” while working on its chip code-named Whitechapel. Axios notes that Google has even taken deliveries of initial working prototypes. That being said, Whitechapel isn’t yet ready to power the Google Pixel; however, it will be so next year.
Google will not be the first one to think in this direction. Apple and Samsung have been developing in-house chips for years.
Reportedly, the chip could even power future Chromebooks; however, that’s a long shot for now. Interestingly, Samsung is helping the tech giant in the design and manufacturing of the chip. Google will be using Samsung’s upcoming 5nm manufacturing process.
However, it’s another story that users have started to question the performance of Samsung’s Exynos chips recently.
People familiar with the matter said the chip will include an “an 8-core ARM processor,” and will be optimized in accordance with Google’s machine learning technology. Moreover, a small part of the SoC will be dedicated to Google Assistant’s Always-On Display.
Google’s Always-On Display (AOD) right now works when the phone is left idle on charging. The chip might help Google in implementing a full-fledged AOD optimized for the battery.
This is not the first time, though. Google has previously built chips for its smartphones. Starting with Pixel Visual Core to aid in smartphone photography, then a Titan M security chip to handle the phone’s verified boot and cryptographic key storage. And the recent Soli radar chip that brought gestures and face unlock to the Google Pixel 4; an in-house SoC seems legit.
An in-house chip would give Google full-control on battery, performance, and other factors that are directly affected by the SoC. The move might also help Google in decreasing the price of Pixel devices.
Qualcomm’s new chips have become expensive, which is forcing manufacturers to release over-priced devices. Reportedly, Google has decided to stick with a previous generation Snapdragon chip in Google Pixel 5 to keep the costs in check.
The only thing left to see is how Whitechapel would compete with Qualcomm chips, that Pixel has been relying on from the start. It goes without saying the chips will have to be 5G-integrated, even to stand in the competition.