One of the worst things about the Android smartphone industry is Qualcomm. Not that Qualcomm makes a bad product or anything, but the company has no competition and is the default chipset supplier for everyone outside of Huawei phones (which you can’t buy), a couple of Samsung phones running inferior Exynos chips, and some random players who choose MediaTek.
Qualcomm’s chipsets have mostly been fine throughout the years, you just have to wonder what a little competition might do for the Android industry. We may soon find out, as a report from Axios suggests that Google is building its own smartphone processor that could arrive as early as next year.
Before you say anything, yes, I know that Google already built a chipset called the Pixel Visual Core. We’re talking here about the main processor in a phone, one that could replace the Snapdragon that has powered all previous Pixel phones. Got it?
According to this report, the chip is codenamed “Whitechapel,” is built on 5nm process with an 8-core ARM processor, and was designed in cooperation with Samsung. The custom chip is said to have a heavy focus on being optimized for machine-learning and Google Assistant.
Google has supposedly been given working versions of the chip in recent weeks, but you still shouldn’t expect them in the Pixel 5 later this year. Instead, 2021 is the target for launch.
What good would switching off of Qualcomm be for Google? Controlling the entire ecosystem, like Apple does, is always going to be the proper move if they can pull it off. That could mean more years of updates, tighter Android integration on Pixel phones (like with Assistant), and more control over where the feature focus should go in the future.
How are they going to do 5G, though? I guess we’ll soon find out.