Google may be developing its own processor that could power the company’s Pixel phones as early as next year, while later versions of the processor could be used in Google’s Chromebooks, according to a report by Axios. Apple has long used its own processors in many of its devices, and it seems Google could be looking to do something similar for its own hardware.
The chip, apparently codenamed “Whitechapel,” may be an eight-core ARM processor built using Samsung’s 5-nanometer process, according to Axios. The processor could be optimized to run Google’s machine learning technology and may have a portion of the chip designated to improve Google Assistant’s performance, according the report.
Google already makes chips of its own for other functions in its devices. Some of its Pixel phones have a security chip called the Titan M, for example, while the Pixel 4 has a coprocessor called the Pixel Neural Core.
Right now, though, the main processor on the Pixels are made by Qualcomm; switching to a custom processor that’s designed by Google to optimally run Google’s software and services could improve the experience of using future Google hardware much in the way Apple’s A-series chips are optimized to run iOS. The move would also be a major blow to Qualcomm, which currently provides processors to most of the Android phone world, with just Huawei and (some of) Samsung’s devices not carrying Qualcomm chips.
Google declined to comment.