22 September 2021
Google is said to be developing CPUs for its notebooks and tablet computers, as per a new report from Nikkei Asia. The report even states that these new Chrome OS-powered notebooks should launch in around 2023.
In addition to this, Google is also said to be ramping up its efforts to build mobile processors for its Pixel smartphones and other devices. This mobile processor is nothing else but the Tensor chip that the company has already talked about and promised to utilize its prowess in its Pixel phones.
As per the report, Google has asked suppliers to prepare 50% more production capacity for the Pixel 6 phones. The report doesn’t directly put the name of the supplier but its own report from last month stated that Samsung is the supplier to Google’s 5nm-based chips for Pixel phones.
The new CPUs for Chromebooks as well as Pixel phones are based on the chip blueprints of Arm.
The report cites people familiar with the matter and states that the inspiration of venturing into semiconductors for its own hardware came to Google after Apple started replacing Intel CPUs with its own offerings for Mac computers and laptops.
Well, while Apple and Samsung are in direct line of sight of Google, there are other players in the market as well that are joining the foray to building their custom chips. The only difference is those contenders have different applications to bring to the tech world. The competition of developing in-house chips for their own products is slowly growing and it would be fascinating to see how the tech industry will do a major shift from how it works now.
As Nikkei Asia points out, building chips require massive investment and long-term commitments. And, above all, the new players have to fight against the years of expertise of existing semiconductor players like Intel, Qualcomm, and even Samsung. Production capacity is one of the challenges that new players will have to go through.
Peter Hanbury, a partner at consulting firm Bain & Co., told Nikkei Asia,
Very few players have the skills or financial resources to design their own chips, so the typical players considering this path tend to be extremely large players, like the cloud service providers, or have very valuable applications for these specially designed chips.
As for Google’s tablets and laptops, the giant has licensed its Chrome OS to so many partners, including HP, Dell, Acer, AsusTek, Lenovo, and Samsung to build Chromebooks and lightweight laptops. So, we might see these players integrating Google’s reported CPUs in their laptops.