Google seems to be getting serious with its Pixel venture. The recent hiring of an ex-Apple chip designer should be ample proof of that.
Manu Gulati, a veteran of many custom chips for Apple’s iOS devices is calling himself the ‘Lead SOC Architect’ at Google. At least, his LinkedIn profile mentions it to be so. However, in layman terms, Gulati is expected to be doing at Google what he does best, designing custom chips for Pixel. This was the device that till some months ago many weren’t even sure if there will be a successor to, is indeed a nice development.
Gulati has been associated with Apple from 2009 till 2017. During the long tenure, he has designed chips that found application in the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. Google though seems to be in need of more heads to fill other chip designing positions. For instance, the Mountain View company currently has an open job listing for a position described as ‘Mobile SoS CPU Architect’.
Meanwhile, the current crop of Pixel devices make do with Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, with the Snapdragon 821 powering both Pixel and Pixel XL handsets. Interestingly, the first-generation Pixel devices came at a time when almost all other flagship phones came powered by the then top-of-the-line Snapdragon 820.
While that makes it amply clear of Google’s intentions of having custom chips on its handsets, it seems the company is now eager to pursue that line even more keenly. Google is also known to be working on the second-generation Pixel range, of which there are rumored to be three devices this time.
Also, it’s the current rage, the Snapdragon 835 (or maybe even an 836) that is expected to power the forthcoming Pixel handsets. Under the circumstances, maybe the third gen Pixels will see the debut of Google’s own custom chips.
Such a development meanwhile is least likely to go down well within Qualcomm. Samsung too has its own Exynos chips that power some variants of its flagship devices even though it also happens to be one of the biggest recipients of the Snapdragon chips. Now with Google too taking the custom chip route, Qualcomm might have to count one lucrative client less from its portfolio in the not too distant future.