Google Pixel phones' Tensor chipsets, while often referred to as the company's own chip, have always been designed and manufactured in conjunction with Samsung. But a recent report indicates that may change by next year.
According to Taiwan's Economic Daily Google has submitted a sample version of a fully self-developed Tensor G5 chip to King Yuan Electronics Co, a company that provides chip testing services. The tests likely will not take place until the middle of 2024, which fits with news we heard last year that 2025's expected Google Pixel 10 would be the first Pixel with Google-designed silicon.
Google is apparently looking to have the Tensor G5 manufactured by chip fabricator TSMC, using the 3-nanometer processing node that you'll find in the iPhone 15 Pro's A17 Pro chip. The Tensor G5, which has been nicknamed “Laguna,” will apparently use advanced packaging technology to become thinner and more power-efficient than previous Tensors.
Google has good reason to pursue custom chips for its phones. Apple has proven the benefits with its in-house A-series chips for mobile devices. A-series silicon has put the iPhone far ahead of rivals in terms of performance thanks to great integration between the chip and other components, while also giving Apple an easier-to-manage supply chain and manufacturing process.
However, there is no guarantee that the future Google chip will be better than what Pixels use currently. For instance, Samsung’s Exynos chips tend to be viewed as lacking compared to the third-party Snapdragon chips, despite being made almost exclusively for Galaxy devices. Designing custom chips is also a sizeable investment, and possibly a risky one since the Pixel series has never been a massive seller, at least not on an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy scale.
While the future looks uncertain for the Google Pixel 10, this year's Google Pixel 9 is still expected to use an Exynos-based Tensor G4 chip. While this will likely be an upgrade over the Pixel 8's Tensor G3 chip, the Pixel 9 will need to bring something else if it wants to fight back against the Samsung Galaxy S24 series' push into AI, and the upcoming iPhone 16 series.
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Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.