Forget Snapdragon: Google Could Fight iPhone with Its Own gChips

Staff Writer
Updated

Future Google Pixel handsets and tablets will most likely run on chips designed by the search giant itself, according to a report from Reuters citing job listings and industry executives familiar with the matter.

Credit: Tom's GuideCredit: Tom's GuideGoogle has reportedly hired about 20 engineers and recruiters for an initiative dubbed "gChips," based out of Bengaluru, India. As it happens, Bengaluru has become a hotbed for chip design in recent years, housing many teams from established semiconductor manufacturers but never before a major device maker like Google.

However, Google isn't completely new to the prospect of designing its own silicon. In 2017's Pixel 2 it introduced the Pixel Visual Core — a co-processor explicitly designed to offload some of the image crunching duties that would typically be handled by the smartphone's general purpose Snapdragon chipset. The Pixel 3 features the second generation of the Pixel Visual Core, and uses it to achieve fantastic results — especially at night.

And of course, Google is far from the first phone maker that's decided to take chip-making duties in house. Apple's A-series processors have yielded excellent critical and consumer acclaim over generations of iPhones and iPads, and in recent years have typically outpaced and outscored their Qualcomm-produced equivalents in most benchmarks. In fact, Cupertino has reportedly decided to expand its responsibilities with modem production as well, spurning Intel in the process.

MORE: Pixel 4 Rumors: What to Expect From Google's Next Phone

Samsung and Huawei also build their own CPUs, named Exynos and Kirin respectively, that feature in select models. It's believed that by assuming responsibilities for hardware and software production at every stage, Google could deliver phones that are far better optimized than what most third-party Android partners crank out.

According to an unnamed executive in Reuters' report, the gChips team could be 80-strong by the end of 2019. The initiative very much appears to still be in the building phase, meaning you shouldn't expect to see the fruits of Google's labor in time for the Pixel 4's launch at the end of the year. Rather, Google's 2020 Pixel seems like a far likelier debut for a fully gChips-designed processor.