Google Pixel 6's Tensor could be an unreleased Samsung Exynos chip

Google Pixel 6
(Image credit: Google)

Google has made some huge waves by revealing some information about its upcoming Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones. Key among those details was the announcement of the Google-designed Tensor system-on-chip. Neither of the Pixel phones will use Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon silicon like previous models have.

Instead, Google is taking more control of the hardware much like Apple does with the A-series Bionic chips in the iPhones and iPads. In fact, Tensor could help the Pixel 6 be a true competitor to the iPhone 13.

When we were still referring to Tensor as Whitechapel, we heard rumors that Google was working closely with Samsung on the design and development of the chip. That would mean that Tensor would have a lot of Exynos (Samsung's line of homegrown chips) DNA. But some digging by site GalaxyClub (Dutch) showed what could be Tensor's official designation in Samsung's portfolio.

Hardcore Samsung fans might remember news of an Exynos 9855 that never saw the light of day in a consumer device. The 9855 supposedly sat just below the Exynos 9925, which will apparently appear as the Exynos 2200, potentially in international models of the Galaxy S22. This is the one that might feature an AMD-made GPU based on the company's RDNA2 architecture.

GalaxyClub claims that the Exynos 9855 also bore another codename: Whitechapel. Yep, you know where this is going — this unreleased chip could actually be Tensor itself. And if it is, we have some inkling of where it resides in Samsung's portfolio. The Exynos 9855 theoretically sits somewhere between the Exynos 9840 (aka Exynos 2100) found in some international models of the Galaxy S21 and the upcoming Exynos 2200. 

It's a bit of a leap to assume that the Pixel 6 will have performance that matches the non-Snapdragon Galaxy S21, but it's a possibility thanks to GalaxyClub's digging. We'll need to wait to get our hands on the Pixel 6 to see first-hand for ourselves how the phone performs, but this work done by GalaxyClub further corroborates leaks we'd heard previously this year. 

Could Tensor be the start of more Exynos (or Exynos-based) chips in the US? We can't say for sure just yet, but it would be awesome to see Qualcomm face fierce competition from one of its largest buyers. As for the Pixel 6 itself, Tensor has a lot of promise in terms of its AI and machine learning capabilities. But if Tensor really is the supposed Exynos 9855, it could also be a powerful chip in its own right.

Jordan Palmer
Phones Editor

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over six years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.