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Will Next-Gen Pixel Smartphones Include Custom Processor Designed By Ex-Apple Chip Architect?

14 June 2017, 7:00 am EDT By Steve Bowman Tech Times
Reports of Google developing customized chipsets for its future smartphones surfaced online after the company appointed an ex-Apple chip architect.  ( Google )

Google is already working on the successors of its popular Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, which it plans to launch in the market soon. The latest buzz suggests that Google is working on its own custom chips for the impending Pixel phones.

This information is courtesy publication Variety, which reveals that Google has hired an ex-Apple chipset architect. The publication cited sources familiar with the matter.

"Google has hired a veteran chip architect away from Apple and is now looking to build its own chips for future versions of its flagship Pixel phone," the publication revealed.

Google hired Manu Gulati who worked with Apple for nearly eight years and developed the processors specifically used in the Cupertino-based company's devices. Gulati shared his appointment at Google as the Lead SoC Architect on June 13 through his LinkedIn profile.

Google Working On Its Own Custom Chips?

For the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, the company used Qualcomm's chipset, which is the norm for almost all the Android smartphone makers today. However, Gulati's appointment indicates that moving forward, Google would build its own custom processors to give it more freedom regarding its own products.

The idea of using a custom chip may have come from Google's rival Apple. Most OEMs use Qualcomm chips, making many of the features and specs identical in all handsets. In such a case, the smartphone loses its identity. Google may be creating its custom processors to ensure that all future Pixel devices stand out from the crowd, just like the iPhone.

Further evidence of Google working on developing chips internally comes from a series of job postings on its website. Google is currently looking for a "Mobile SoC CPU Architect," a "Mobile SoC Memory Architect," and a "Hardware Engineer, Mobile SoC Architect."

The fact that Google is looking for people with experience in mobile SoC development strongly indicates that it is focusing on creating custom processors for its future smartphones.

Why Is Google Trying To Create Its Own Custom Chips?

Prior to 2016, Google only launched mid-range smartphones like the Nexus series. However, after the launch of Pixel and the Pixel XL, the focus shifted to provide customers with premium quality devices and compete with iPhones.

Apple's in-house chipset development has allowed it to maintain a stronghold in the smartphone market. It is one of the reasons why iPhones have been able to keep up with the constant burden of high-powered functionalities such as VR and AR. Customized chips offer greater freedom as smartphone developers can then tailor the SoC to suit the features, which it plans to house in its next flagship device.

For instance, Apple showed off its Core ML API at the WWDC, which the company stated will make its iPhones six times faster than the Google Pixel. Thus, to stay relevant and not fall behind competition, Google may have decided to develop custom chips.

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