Google has an Apple-flavored plan for Pixel and Chromebook chips

Eric Abent - Apr 14, 2020, 9:47 am CDT
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Google has an Apple-flavored plan for Pixel and Chromebook chips

Apple and Samsung are two giants in the consumer electronics space who make the chips powering some of their products, and it may not be long before we see Google join them. According to a new report today, Google may be gearing up to craft its own chips for its Pixel lineup. Assuming that pans out, we may see Google use these chips to power Chromebooks as well.

That’s according to Axios, which reported this earlier today. Though Google would be designing these chips, manufacturing would be handled by Samsung using the company’s 5nm process. In that sense, Google would be mirroring Apple, which similarly designs the chips for its phones and tablets and then turns to Samsung for manufacturing.

Axios says that Google “received its first working version of the chip” – which is codenamed Whitechapel – within the past few weeks, so this project is definitely still in its early stages. That means we probably won’t see these chips in Pixel phones until next year, and for Chromebooks, the wait will probably be even longer.

Axios also says that Whitechapel will also offer hardware for machine learning, which makes a lot of sense given Google’s focus in that area in recent years. Add to that components aimed at improving Google Assistant’s performance, and it becomes easier to see why Google may want to custom design the chips it uses for its phones and Chromebooks – with more control over how the chip is designed, Google can include hardware that’s specifically tailored to the Pixel’s feature set in some instances.

Of course, there’s a lot that goes into planning a chipset, so while the current expectation is that we’ll see this Google-designed chip in 2021’s Pixels, it could take longer than that. We’ll see what happens from here, so stay tuned for more.


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