Google’s first custom smartphone chip to debut in Pixel 6
Image credit: google
Google has unveiled its first custom system-on-chip (SoC) which will be used in its upcoming Pixel 6 smartphone.
The new chips present another challenge to market dominators Qualcomm, whose chips power over 40 per cent of Android phones.
Google said the processor, called Tensor, will help it to overcome issues around running competent AI on smartphones, a limitation that it has faced in the past.
“We set about building a technology platform built for mobile that enabled us to bring our most innovative AI and machine learning (ML) to our Pixel users. We set out to make our own SoC to power Pixel 6. And now, years later, it’s almost here,” the search firm said in a blog post.
“Tensor was built for how people use their phones today and how people will use them in the future. As more and more features are powered by AI and ML it’s not simply about adding more computing resources, it’s about using that ML to unlock specific experiences for our Pixel users.”
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are expected to debut later this year when Google will share more details about the specifics of the new chips.
The devices will also feature an upgraded rear camera system with improved sensors and lenses that have become too big to fit into the traditional square. The company has therefore installed a “camera bar” on the back of the device, which it says will provide unparalleled camera performance from a smartphone.
The new SoC should also help to boost the camera performance as it has been customised to run Google’s computational photography models.
“For users, this means entirely new features, plus improvements to existing ones,” the post reads.
“Tensor enables us to make the Google phones we’ve always envisioned - phones that keep getting better, while tapping the most powerful parts of Google, all in a highly personalised experience. And with Tensor’s new security core and Titan M2, Pixel 6 will have the most layers of hardware security in any phone.”
Tensor will also be used for speech recognition including on-device translation services, Google added.
The new Pixel phones will feature new materials and finishes, such as a polished aluminium frame on the Pro and a matte aluminium finish on the 6.
Apple started using its own processor designs on iPhones and iPads in 2010 with its A4 chip. A new iteration of these designs came to their laptop and desktop devices last year, with the M1 chip, in a step away from chipmaker Intel.
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