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Google's new hire from Apple could help design custom chips for future Pixel phones

Manu Gulati, who help develop custom chips for many of Apple's iOS products, is now at Google where he may do the same for future Pixel phones.

Published onJune 13, 2017

Google may have decided it wants to design its own custom processors for future versions of its Pixel phones. Today, it was revealed that Manu Gulati, who helped to develop custom chips for many of Apple’s iOS products, is now working at Google, with the official title of “Lead SOC Architect”.

Google Pixel XL vs Apple iPhone 7 Plus
He worked at Apple from 2009 to 2017 and helped lead the company's efforts in designing its own chips for the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV

Gulati has actually been working at Google for the past few weeks, according to a story in Variety, but officially announced his move from Cupertino to Mountain View on his LinkedIn page today. He worked at Apple from 2009 to 2017 and helped lead the company’s efforts in designing its own chips for the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV products, which officially began in 2010. It stands to reason that his hiring by Google could signal a move by the company to do the same for upcoming Pixel products. Variety also notes that Google is currently looking for other people to fill additional chip design positions, such as an open job listing for a “Mobile SoC CPU Architect”.

Google’s first Pixel phones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, both used processors provided by Qualcomm. However, we have seen a small trend of larger companies making their own chips. In addition to Apple, Samsung is using its own in-house Exynos chips in some versions of its Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus devices. If Google does decide to launch future Pixel phones with its own processors, that could be a serious loss for Qualcomm. It could also show that Google wants to have custom chips that it believes will be faster and more powerful than the ones made by Qualcomm and others.

However, it’s unlikely that will happen for the next generation of the Pixel devices, which are expected to be released sometime this fall. Recent rumors claim Google has canceled plans to launch a direct successor to the 5.5-inch Pixel XL. In addition, another new report claims that Google’s next larger Pixel phone, codenamed “Taimen”, may actually be built by LG.

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