Will Google Silicon make Pixel phones cheaper or more expensive?


All eyes are on Google to see if the Pixel 6’s expected new proprietary chipset means more functionality and less cost than the Pixel 5.

Reports emerged last week that Google will start making its own silicon for its Pixel phones, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Pixel owners have a break in their pockets. It’s a bold move for Google, which has so far relied on Qualcomm for its chipsets. It could affect users in different ways and comes after years of being beaten by Apple and Samsung devices when it comes to performance. Consequently, Pixel has earned a reputation for being a solid but mid-level player.

That may be about to change. with the suggestion that Google’s Pixel 6, scheduled for fall 2021, would be Google’s first phone powered by a system on a chip (SoC) that the company itself develops. Rumors of this move started circulating early last year and really picked up steam this fall when Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company would be making “Some Deeper Hardware Investments” although he did not elaborate. Many inferred that he was referring to an effort by Google, codenamed ‘Whitechapel’, aimed at developing its own chipset for use in both its Pixel phones and Chromebooks.

Related: When to Expect Google’s Silicon Phone to Launch

But will a new chipset mean that Pixel buyers can expect their wallets to be heavier or lighter? It’s another way of asking if Google is trying to cut costs and pass the savings on to consumers or if it has its sights set on going head-to-head with Apple and Samsung in the high end of the market. While not exactly clear, a look at the chip points to a more powerful phone at a perhaps nominal price increase. Axios reported last year that the SoC chip, which would be produced with Samsung’s semiconductor unit, would include an eight-core ARM processor and hardware for machine learning and the always-on capabilities of the Google Assistant. That would put Google’s Pixel 6 at the premium end of the market, though not necessarily at the top.

Google Silicon will increase the performance of the Pixel 6

Google Whitechapel vs Apple 14

Currently, Google’s top-of-the-line Pixel 5 phone retails for $ 699. That phone is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G. The 765G is part of Qualcomm’s 7-series processors, which puts it at the top of Qualcomm’s product line, but with a healthy gap between it and top-of-the-line 8-series processors. Based on the specifications of the new chip, the proprietary SoC that Google has in the works will bring it more in line with the 8 series. It likely means that any financial benefits Google derives from its own production is offset by the cost of increasing its specifications .

While there is the possibility of a price increase, there will likely be an increase in value as well. Unlike Apple, which could customize its processors to suit your phone’s needs, Google has been handcuffed with what it could do with standard chipsets. Take support. Qualcomm can only support updates for three years (a Qualcomm limitation). That leaves Google far behind its competitor Apple, which has been able to update its iPhones for five years. That gap should be closed now. And Google is well positioned to bring additional features and functionality to your phone with little to no cost impact.

Next: 5 Things To Look For In Google’s Next Pixel 6

Sources: Axios, Google, Samsung, Qualcomm

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