Google Whitechapel, creating a solution to not rely on Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs anymore. The first rumors about the new Google Pixel 6 smartphone have surfaced, whose most interesting novelty is its designed chip. Specifically, it is about the hypothetical Google Whitechapel SoC, a processor with ARM architecture that is adapted to leave Qualcomm Snapdragon behind.
The information highlights that the Google Pixel 6 will carry an SoC christened GS101. According to initial rumors, this SoC, codenamed Google Whitechapel, is Google’s own design. Moreover, “GS” would become the abbreviation for “Google Silicon” according to rumors. A processor that will not only be introduced in the Pixel 6, but could also be used in a hypothetical Pixel 5a 5G.
They point out that Samsung’s SLSI division, which is responsible for developing the Exynos SoCs, appears in the technical documentation. This would confirm earlier rumors that Google is working with Samsung to develop an SoC. It is also suggested that this new SoC could be based on Samsung’s 5nm lithography. 9to5google also notes that this new chip will have some similarities with Samsung’s Exynos, including the software components.
According to various leaks, this SoC could come in a 3-cluster configuration with a Tensor Processing Unit (TPU). Rumors also say that it could integrate the Titan M security chip, codenamed Citadel.
The 3-cluster configuration could be very similar to the Snapdragon 888. Currently, Qualcomm’s SoC uses an ARM X1 power core, three mid-range Cortex-A78 cores for multi-core loads, and four Cortex-A55s for light tasks.
Surely, many will rattle the tree and take advantage of the “rivalry” between Google and Apple. We should not lose sight of the fact that Apple is a $200 billion hardware company. The company’s most important product is the iPhone, which is extremely pampered. In contrast, Google is an advertising company that has a lean hardware division as another line of business.
Google’s Whitechapel doesn’t want to compete with Apple, it’s just another element of control. Whitechapel’s idea is the same as Apple’s M1, to create a custom solution for your software. So far, Google’s SoCs have always been a bit weak, so we shouldn’t get our hopes up too early.
The samples to various developers and at the moment, it does not look like anything brutal:
Pixel Visual Core: the Pixel 2 and 3’s co-processor for the camera, customized in collaboration with Intel. It helped with HDR+ processing but barely achieved the same image quality as the Pixel 3a, which did not integrate the chip.
Pixel Neural Core: It emerged from the company’s TPU AI acceleration efforts. It had the task of camera speech recognition and artificial intelligence. It was integrated with the Pixel 4 but was not integrated with the Pixel 5 due to its low relevance.
Project Soli: Conceptual radar chip that was sold as being able to recognize “sub-millimeter finger movements.” When it was time to launch it was only capable of recognizing large arm movement gestures. While it is integrated with the new Nest Hub for sleep monitoring, it was not well integrated with the Pixel 5.
Titan M security chip: This is a security feature built into select Pixels. Google says it makes smartphones much more secure. In reality, this chip is very similar to the one integrated into the Snapdragon and does not offer any significant differences that could be verified.
We see the hardware industry moving towards the development of various closed ecosystems. Apple is the first to go down this path with its own processors under the name Apple Silicon. Intel is taking this step with a new processor architecture with hybrid cores, a new socket, and even its own connector for powering motherboards. NVIDIA is doing the same with its attempted acquisition of ARM Holding to make its own processors for its graphics cards. Samsung and AMD have teamed up to bring AMD’s RDNA architecture to Samsung Exynos chips. AMD has even acquired Xilinx to develop its own SoCs and FPGAs to expand the ecosystem of solutions it offers.