Come October, Pixel 6 could pack Google's own chipset
Rumors are rife that Google will rely on its own chipsets to power its upcoming flagship Pixel 6 smartphones. Early last year, Axios reported that Google could power its Chromebooks and Pixel smartphones with its own processors. And, now a new report by 9to5Google loaded with codenames suggests that Google's system on a chip (SoC) could hit the store shelves later this year.
Pichai could have hinted about it during October earnings call
In April 2020, Axios reported that an SoC codenamed Whitechapel, designed in conjunction with Samsung using 5nm technology was being developed. The information seemed believable as Samsung also manufactured processors for Apple iPhones besides its own Exynos processors. Further, during an earnings call in October, Google CEO Sundar Pichai's mention of "deeper investments in hardware" was also interpreted as a reference to Whitechapel.
Google's first Whitechapel chip is reportedly codenamed GS101
According to documents seen by 9to5Google, Whitechapel is used in connection with the codename "Slider," a reference reportedly spotted in the Google Camera app as well. 9to5Google believes that Slider is the "shared platform" for the first Whitechapel SoC. Additionally, the documentation refers to the first chip as "GS101," where GS could stand for Google Silicon.
Google could be developing chip in conjunction with Samsung Semiconductor
The report proceeded to link Slider with Samsung's Exynos processors, suggesting that Whitechapel is being developed with Samsung Semiconductor's system large scale integration (SLSI) division. 9to5Google claims that the first Google smartphones to be built on the Slider platform are codenamed "Raven" and "Oriole". Google could join smartphone manufacturers such as Apple, Huawei, and Samsung, which have transitioned to using their own silicon.
Google's octa-core chip will rival Snapdragon 7 series chips
Further, XDA-Developers reports that Google's chip will have an octa-core ARM CPU featuring two Cortex A78 cores, two Cortex A76 cores, and four Cortex A55 cores. The CPU will reportedly be paired with an off-the-shelf Mali GPU. XDA places this Google chip as an upper mid-range chip that would lock horns with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 7 series.
Custom silicon means Pixel devices receive Android upgrades for longer
Besides being cheaper, the primary benefit of switching to custom silicon is that Google would have increased control over driver updates. For the average smartphone user, this translates into a device that would receive Android updates for longer. Additionally, a version of Google's Pixel Visual Core for the Pixel 2 could come to the Pixel 6, reportedly bringing improved camera performance.
With no official confirmation, Whitechapel remains an uncorroborated rumor
However, the information at hand is uncorroborated and merely a rumor. It is equally likely at this point that the Pixel 6 launches with a Snapdragon 7 or 8 series SoC, which have been giving Samsung's Exynos chips stiff competition of late. Not to mention, the difference in modern smartphone SoCs boils down to their level of optimization for specific use cases.