Google wants to eventually make smartphones with its own chip design

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In the future, Google, like Apple, Samsung and Huawei, wants to make smartphones that have a self-designed soc. The first smartphones that Google releases entirely in-house, the Pixel and Pixel XL, still have a Qualcomm Snapdragon soc.

Dave Burke, the head of the Android engineering department, says in an interview with Bloomberg that Google will increasingly develop parts of its smartphones itself. In the long run, this should result in an own soc design. Google therefore opts for the same approach as Apple and Samsung, which design their own chips for smartphones.

It is not yet clear when Google Pixel phones will be released with custom silicon. Google has also not yet commented on what functionality such a proprietary soc should offer, but it seems obvious that the search giant will attempt to strengthen its Google Assistant function with its own chip. Google sees the assistant as the future for the company and wants to offer every user a ‘personalized search experience’ through artificial intelligence.

Although the Pixel and Pixel XL are equipped with a Snapdragon 821-soc from Qualcomm, according to Burke, the smartphones also contain hardware customized by Google. For example, there is modem technology that stems from previous experiments with Nexus hardware. Google also says that the chipset has been optimized to speed up photo taking and to optimize the response time of the touchscreen. According to Burke, the Pixels are “much faster” than any existing Android hardware.

The Android CEO states in the interview that he already saw a photo last month that was made with a Google smartphone that will be on the market next year. He made that statement to indicate that Google can now create a roadmap for products that will be released in the coming years. That was not the case with the Nexus smartphones; according to Burke, Google only started interfering with the product with those models when it was already 90 percent finished.

The Pixel and Pixel XL are the first smartphones that Google claims to have designed completely in-house. Although HTC produces the devices, it is not mentioned anywhere. According to Google, the relationship between the company and manufacturer HTC is no different than that between Apple and Foxconn. With the switch from the Nexus to the Pixel line, Google is emphatically positioning itself as a phone manufacturer for the first time. To this end, the search giant has set up a new hardware division, led by Rick Osterloh.

With the Nexus smartphones, Google always spoke of a collaboration with a manufacturer. The manufacturer’s name was also on the Nexus smartphones. With the Pixel hardware, Google has moved away from that concept and the company itself is in direct competition with Apple and manufacturers of Android devices such as Samsung, LG, Sony and HTC.

Video preview of the Pixel and Pixel XL

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