Google could use its own custom microprocessors in Pixel handsets and Chromebooks by 2021.
According to a new report from Axios, Google is working with Samsung to develop a chipset codenamed “Whitechapel” that could power Pixel phones as soon as next year. The outlet adds that the chipset is codenamed Whitechapel and could eventually show up inside Chromebooks, saying that Google received the first working versions of the processor already.
“Google has made significant progress toward developing its own processor to power future versions of its Pixel smartphone as soon as next year, and eventually Chromebooks as well,” reads the report. “The move … would be a blow to Qualcomm, which supplies processors for many current high-end phones, including the Pixel.”
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. Other reported technical details include eight Arm CPU cores, Google’s own machine learning silicon, and hardware devoted to the Assistant’s always-listening technology.
While Google is already prototyping the first working versions of the chip, Axios says it won’t likely debut until next year. Incidentally, Google’s next flagship, the Pixel 5 series, is expected to run on Qualcomm’s mid-range Snapdragon 765G processor.
The report also mentions the chip could eventually also make its way to Chromebook laptops. However, that will likely happen much later and we don’t yet know whether Google will make it available for third-party Chrome OS partners like Dell and Asus.
Building the main processor from scratch could allow Google to further refine its phones’ experience in terms of both speed and battery life to better rival iPhones which have nearly always featured Apple’s own chips. Most of the leading phone makers like Samsung and Huawei already have robust chip divisions and the latter has been exclusively relying on in-house processors for the last couple of years.