For the past few years now, there have been rumors about whether Google would move away from Qualcomm and take an Apple/Samsung approach for its own hardware. The rumors have been swirling about a potential Google SoC ever since the company acquired HTC’s Pixel hardware division. However, new phones have come and gone, all while being powered by different Qualcomm Snapdragon processors.
According to 9to5Google, the Pixel 6 will be the first Google device to be powered by its own processors, codenamed ‘Whitechapel’. 9to5Google found references to this new processor in documents with references to a shared platform codenamed ‘Slider’. This connection has referred to the processor as GS101, with “GS” being short for Google Silicon.
The Slider platform has already tipped the codenames for two upcoming and unannounced devices, codenamed ‘Raven’ and ‘Oriole’. It’s to be believed that these devices are the Pixel 6 and another phone that could be the Pixel 5a 5G. However, the latter would come as a bit of a surprise if it were to launch alongside the Pixel 6, as the Pixel 5a could be announced as soon as Google I/O in May.
The GS101 will be the first of potentially many processors developed by Google, which has been reportedly working with Samsung to produce these upcoming processors. It’s very likely that a new series of processors could debut later this year, starting with the Pixel 6, and potentially being used in the Pixel Fold and unannounced Pixel-branded Chromebooks.
The writing has been on the wall for Google to start making its own processors after CEO Sundar Pichai made mention of making some “deeper investments” in hardware.
We’re doing some deeper investments in hardware, which some of it takes two to three years to come together. I’m excited at the terrific roadmap ahead.
This could seem a bit earlier than expected, given Pichai’s comment during the company’s Q3 2020 earnings call. However, it’s also possible that Google and Samsung have fine-tuned the hardware to the point where the confidence of a solid launch is good enough to move forward with a 2021 Google Silicon-powered Pixel device.