Almost five years after it launched the Pixel series of smartphones, Google has announced that it will ditch conventional chipmakers and power its next Pixel phone with a chip that it has built on its own. This shift in policy is much like Apple, which after using self-built chips for its iPhones will now also use them for its Macs. To know how good Google's chip is, we just need to wait for fall, when Pixel 6 is available.
Google announced the debut of its chip, Google Tensor, in a blog post. Authored by Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Devices and Services at Google, the announcement began with a lament about the computing limitations of products from existing chip manufacturers that was preventing Google from realizing its vision. So, the company set out to make its own Socket-on-Chip (SoC) to power its upcoming smartphone, the Pixel 6.
Contrary to motherboard-based architecture that contains detachable components like the memory, processor, storage, etc., a socket-on-chip architecture integrates all these components and more on a single circuit board. Google's move is aimed to transfer its expertise in cloud computing to transform how smartphones process day-to-day functions likes photos and video, while also bringing Artificial Intelligence applications to the palm of your hands, without actually involving a cloud computer somewhere in the world.
The company has claimed that it will deliver new features to its camera such as less blur if people move while taking a picture and applying improvements to videos as well. Providing a natural flow to text-to-speech, offline translation for video captions, and improving speech recognition is also something the company claims to conquer with the help of its Tensor chip.
In addition to making changes to the phone's internals, Google has also made changes to the exterior of the Pixel by introducing a camera bar to accommodate the growing size of sensors and lenses, while phones get slimmer. The phone will run on Android 12, which boasts a new feature revolving around animations called Material You that blends color science with interaction design and engineering, the company claimed.
How all of this will play out remains to be seen. The company has not revealed any details about the Pixel but told CNBC that it plans to release more flagship phones and focus on the marketing with the new Pixel.