Google is expected to launch their upcoming flagship- Google Pixel 6 later this year. The same is also rumoured to be powered by Google’s own custom chipset. Taking a page from Apple’s book, Google is expected to ditch Qualcomm for their upcoming flagship devices, as far as sourcing processors for the same is concerned. According to reports from 9to5Google, the new chips, internally, are being called “GS101” and have been codenamed “Whitechapel”. The Pixel 6 would be the first device to hit the markets powered by the Whitechapel chips.
The GS101 or a derivative of the same is also expected to power the future Chromebooks and a rumored ‘Pixel Fold’ device, which is very exciting news. The Whitechapel chips were first rumoured last year and reports suggests that Google is developing their custom chips in partnership with Samsung. The South-Korean giant already manufactures its own chips, such as the flagship Exynos 2100, which is more than capable of giving a dominating Qualcomm, a run for its money.
This kind of a partnership is more than likely to be great news for us, the consumers, but spells nothing but trouble for Qualcomm. Designing and manufacturing chips is a very niche specialization for any company, especially in the mobile segment. Experienced giants such as the likes of Intel have attempted to establish themselves in this market and finally abandoned their expedition. With the technical expertise of Samsung and Google’s abundant resources and software prowess, it is extremely likely that the partnership would yeild some very compelling results. This means that in a segment already dominated by Samsung, Huawei, Qualcomm and Apple, Qualcomm would have another major player in Google, resulting in stiffer competition if Google has any plans of selling their chips to other manufacturers in the future.
The report specifies that Whitechapel is being developed by Google in collaboration with Samsung Semiconductors’s System Large-Scale Integration (SLSI) division. Naturally, Google’s custom silicon would have similarities in its microarchitecture with Samsung chips. This means that Google is commited to diversifying their expertise of a purely software-based enterprise to a company with equal prowess in both the software and the hardware departments. This statement has been more or less confirmed by Google’s CEO who had made it clear that Google is committed to bringing their expertise in hardware at the same level as their dominance in software through sizeable investments into the venture. On the same topic, Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai has hinted on “some deeper investments in hardware” and a “terrific roadmap ahead” in 2021, which drives the aforementioned point.
According to the document, Whitechapel is used in connection to “Slider”, the same codename which has been found in Google’s Camera app. The first phones on the Slider platform would be “Raven” and “Oriole”, one of which is the Google Pixel 6. As far as the ‘GS’ in “GS101” is concerned, we believe it is a shorthand for ‘Google Silicon’, however, it might be a shorthand for a combination of Google and Samsung as well.
For the Pixel line-up of phones, Google had chosen to source the chipset from Qualcomm, which is a US based company specializing in designing and manufacturing hardware components such as Processor, Antennas, Modems, etc. With the Google Pixel 5 launched last year, we saw Google introduce a flagship phone using a Qualcomm’s mid-range Snapdragon 765G chipset under the hood. It is yet to be seen how Google’s custom silicon will fare in such a competitive market. However, with Google responsible for both the software and the hardware running on every Pixel device, it would enjoy a very uniquely advantageous position, where if Google perfectly optimizes Android to run on its custom silicon, the flagship smartphone market would be drastically altered forever.