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Google Pixel 6 modem won't be from Qualcomm, rumor suggests

This isn't surprising, but it does suggest the Tensor chipset could be more a Samsung chip than anything else.

Published onAugust 25, 2021

Samsung Logo from CES FirstLook 2018-4
  • The upcoming Google Pixel 6 could feature a Samsung 5G cellular modem.
  • This would be a huge hit to Qualcomm, the dominant force in the cellular modem market.
  • It’s just a rumor, but it tracks with the fact that Samsung is heavily involved in the Pixel 6 chipset.

We already know that Google’s upcoming Pixel flagships will feature a new custom chipset. The Google Tensor CPU is a co-creation with Samsung but designed by Google.

Now, a rumor suggests that even the modem of the chipset could bear the Samsung name (via Reuters). This would be a big loss for Qualcomm, which is the leading producer of cellular modems for smartphones.

Related: History of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series

Considering we already know that Samsung is heavily involved in the creation of Tensor, we’re inclined to believe this rumor is true. However, it is just speculation for now.

Outside of Qualcomm, Samsung and MediaTek are the only companies making cellular modems at the moment. Qualcomm dominates the other two by a longshot, so Google relying on Samsung for the Pixel 6 is a significant hit to Qualcomm’s status.

One of Qualcomm’s biggest customers for cellular modems — Apple — is currently hard at work creating its own cellular modems, too. Once Apple steps up to the plate, the whole market could shift with Qualcomm being the big loser.

We expect the Google Pixel 6 modem to support both mmWave and Sub6 5G connections. However, how good those connections will be compared to Qualcomm modems is yet to be seen.

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