Google's upcoming Pixel 6 smartphones to offer an internal chipset

Googles upcoming Pixel 6 smartphones
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Google's upcoming Pixel 6 smartphones

Highlights

Google's Android operating system is the most popular smartphone software, used by companies like Samsung. But Google's own phones haven't had such a huge impact, even as they received praise for their designs and features.

Google is betting more on smartphones by joining rivals Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. in the internal design of the device's most critical component: the main processor.

The Alphabet Inc. company said Monday that its next flagship phones, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, will include new Tensor chips when they go on sale later this year. Google had previously used Qualcomm Inc. processors in all of its Pixel phones since the first models were released in 2016. The new chip is designed to bolster artificial intelligence technology and improve both speech recognition and photo and video processing.

The new component will be Google's first system-on-a-chip - technology that integrates the key elements of the device. The design of these types of processors takes years and is a huge investment, both financially and in terms of resources. For such a venture to make a profit, future Google Pixel phones will likely have to sell better than previous models.

Apple has been making chips for its iPhones since 2010, but the company sells more than 100 million units per year. Samsung also handles massive volumes. It is the second-largest chipmaker in the world and sells more phones than Apple.

Google's Android operating system is the most popular smartphone software, used by companies like Samsung to run their devices. But Google's own phones haven't had such a huge impact, even as they received praise for their designs and features.

Pixel sales were lacklustre for the first few years, before picking up in 2019 when the company turned more attention to lower-end phones. But that growth sizzled. In the first half of 2021, Pixel's market share decreased 7% year-over-year, according to Counterpoint Research. Google plans to launch a new low-end 5a phone this month, but that device is expected to continue to use a Qualcomm processor.

Google did not provide technical specifications for its new processor, but the company developed the component with several former Apple chip engineers on staff. It's unclear how it will ultimately perform in its first iteration against more seasoned offerings from Qualcomm, Apple, and others. The chip is based on an Arm Holdings instruction set, the same underlying technology used by most of the industry.

The standard Pixel 6 has a slightly smaller screen than the Pixel 6 Pro, which also has brighter metal edges and an additional camera. Both phones have a standard camera sensor, an ultra-wide-angle lens, and a time-of-flight sensor to measure distance. The Pro model adds a telephoto lens for a wider zoom range.

Google is also using the Pixel 6 line to introduce its new Material You design system as part of Android 12. The new approach changes the colours of the buttons and the interface to better match the wallpaper chosen by the phone. Tags: Google, Google Pixel 6 Pro, internal chip

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