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Samsung is reportedly making Google's next device chips

These could include a new body movement sensor and a mysterious application processor.

Published onAugust 4, 2020

  • Samsung has reportedly landed orders for new chips from Google.
  • A body motion sensor and an “unprecedented” application processor are in the works.
  • Samsung may handle the designs for both.

Samsung’s production plans might offer a clue to Google’s future hardware.

ETNews industry sources claim that Samsung has landed orders from Google to make multiple chips, although they’re not necessarily for existing device categories. One is a body motion sensor, according to the tipsters, while another is an “unprecedented” application processor for unknown purposes.

There weren’t other hints as to how Google would use the new chips, although Samsung is reportedly designing the parts in addition to manufacturing them. Samsung told ETNews that it can’t reveal information about factory customers.

The sources didn’t mention a time frame for the designs.

See also: Google Pixel 4a review

Google could have a number of potential uses for these chips. While the company supposedly cancelled an in-house smartwatch a while back, it might look at wearables if its Fitbit deal goes through. The company’s Rick Osterloh has stressed that the acquisition is about devices, and motion tracking is essential for any fitness features.

An application processor could have any number of roles. While there has been talk of a Samsung-made CPU for the 2021 Pixel, Google has also used custom silicon like the Pixel Visual Core and Titan M for specialized tasks in its phones. The Samsung parts could help Pixel phones and other products perform tasks that would be impractical using a general-purpose processor.

Google might need custom hardware to provide a unique experience that typical device makers can't match.

The company has a strong incentive to dive into bespoke chips, at least. Google is competing against rivals like Apple, HUAWEI, and Samsung that can afford to design their own silicon. Even though the performance can vary between those challengers, their in-house chips help them stand out. Google might need custom hardware to provide a unique experience that typical device makers can’t match.

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