After announcing the Google Tensor chip, its first in-house processor, a new report suggests that Google is now setting its sights on Chromebooks. Nikkei Asia (via 9to5Google) reports that Google is working on another new processor that would be used in Chromebook laptops and tablets. The in-house CPU would be unveiled sometime “around 2023” and seems to be so confident in the Tensor processor that it’s looking to expand.
Nikkei Asia claims that Google was “particularly inspired” after seeing what Apple has done with its own processors. With the Apple M1 chip, you’ll now find the company’s self-developed chipset in everything from the iMac and Mac Mini to the iPad Pro. And this is just the beginning for Apple as it plans to completely phase out Intel processors from its lineup within the next few years.
Google’s growing focus on developing its own chips comes as global rivals pursue a similar strategy to differentiate their offerings. Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Tesla, Baidu and Alibaba Group Holding are all racing to build their own semiconductors to power their cloud services and electronic products.
What remains to be seen from Google’s perspective is whether this means we’ll see a rejuvenation of the Pixelbook or other Google-branded Chromebook hardware. It’s possible that Google might try and partner with select manufacturers, but it’s just too early to really know what the plan is yet.
Going even further, Nikkei Asia reveals that “Google has asked suppliers to prepare 50% more production capacity” for the upcoming Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. It seems that Google is really putting it all on the line with its upcoming devices, but also believes that the phones will outperform its disappointing 2020 results.
In 2019, Google reached the top, as it sold more than seven million Pixel devices, but that number dropped to just 3.7 million over the course of 2020. Part of this was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we would venture to guess that Google’s head-scratching release strategy played a role.
No matter the case, if Google is gearing up to release a new line of Tensor-powered Chromebooks in the next couple of years, it could make for exciting times. But something else that remains to be seen is whether Google’s current Chromebook, the Pixelbook Go, has yet to be updated despite running Intel chipsets that are now three generations old.