These in-house CPUs would debut in 2023 on future generations of Chromebooks and tablets running Chrome OS.
In early August, Google unveiled its first SoC for smartphones . Called Tensor, this chip a priori developed in collaboration with Samsung will equip the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro which will be released next fall. And the Mountain View firm should not stop there.
Google chips for laptops and tablets running Chrome OS
According to Nikkei Asia, which indicates having cross-checked the information from three different sources, Google is engaged in the development of ARM processors for laptops and tablets under Chrome OS. We would have to wait until 2023 to see them arrive on the market.
Currently, Chrome OS is present on Chromebooks produced by Dell, Acer, HP, Asus, Samsung and Lenovo. Google also launched its Pixelbook laptop and Pixelslate tablet. The majority of these devices use x86 processors from Intel or AMD, but there are also models with SoC ARM from MediaTek and Qualcomm.
Offering your own chips is an expensive long-term strategy, but it also brings many benefits. Nikkei Asia reports Eric Tseng, chief analyst at Isaiah Research:
“ All the tech giants are getting into the development of their custom chips because they can program their own functions into those chips to meet their specific needs. In this case, these companies could easily adjust R&D workloads without being limited by their suppliers and offer unique services or technologies. In an ideal scenario, using your own chips also means better software and hardware integration ”.
Google follows in Apple’s footsteps
Two people familiar with the matter would have indicated to Nikkei Asia that Google ” was particularly inspired by the success of Apple for the development of its own semiconductors ”. The Apple-based firm launched its own SoCs for iPhone and iPad in 2010. Ten years later, in 2020, it began a transition from Intel processors to its ARM Apple Silicon chips on Macs.
For its part, Google has been developing tensor processing units (TPU) since 2015, integrated circuits dedicated to artificial intelligence used in its data centers. As for consumer solutions, the launch of the Pixel 6 range will be a first test of this strategy for developing internal processors. Google seems optimistic and has asked its suppliers to produce 50% more smartphones compared to the pre-pandemic level of 2019. That year, the company had sold 7 million pixels before falling back to 3.7 million in 2020 , according to data from the firm IDC.