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Report: Google is taking on Apple with custom processors for Chrome OS devices
- Google is reportedly working on its own processors for Chrome OS laptops and tablets.
- Products with the new silicon are tipped to launch in 2023.
- It’s also claimed that Google is “ramping up” its smartphone processor efforts.
Google confirmed earlier this year that the Pixel 6 series would be powered by the company’s first in-house chipset. The custom Tensor processor hosts some machine learning smarts and is also tipped to offer a Samsung modem.
Now, Nikkei Asia reports that Google is building its own processors for Chrome OS-powered laptops and tablets, citing three sources familiar with the plans. It’s claimed that a launch is planned for 2023.
Two sources told the outlet that Google was “particularly inspired” by Apple’s success in developing custom chipsets or smartphones and computers. Apple has been producing in-house iPhone chipsets since 2010’s iPhone 4, while it also delivered its first custom processor for Mac computers last year.
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It’s believed Google’s custom Chrome OS processors and its smartphone chipsets will be based on Arm designs, suggesting that we’ll see Arm Cortex CPUs and potentially Mali GPUs. We would also expect these new Chrome OS chipsets to contain machine learning silicon as we’ve seen with the Pixel 6’s chipset. Dedicated ML silicon allows for improvements like faster image processing, improved security, and better voice recognition.
Nikkei‘s sources add that Google is also “ramping up efforts” to build processors for its Pixel phones and other devices. This presumably means that the firm has follow-ups to the Pixel 6’s Tensor processor in the works, but we also wonder whether the firm is working on mid-range silicon for its Pixel A range.
Finally, the outlet claims that Google has asked suppliers to prepare for 50% more production capacity for the Pixel 6 series compared to 2019’s devices (pre-Covid).
It’s far too early to say whether Google will be able to take the fight to Apple on the desktop computing front with custom Chrome OS processors. But it’s worth noting that Apple develops its own CPU and GPU as well, as opposed to relying on a chip designer like Arm. This means Apple is at an advantage in theory (and often in practice) as it’s able to exert more granular control over the performance of its chipsets.