One of the strengths of the iPhone has always been the use of Apple’s own processors under the hood—which help contribute to an optimised overall experience on iOS. This is something that Apple knows, clearly, and you could argue that the development of the M1-powered Macs was a decision made in the same train of thought.
Android as a platform, on the other hand, has to contend with the huge, huge variety of OEM manufacturers that run on the operating system—along with the usual range of processors from Qualcomm, or even Samsung with their Exynos chips. However, Google might be launching a custom chip later this year, with 9to5Google first reporting that the Whitechapel (GS101) chip will power the upcoming Pixel phone (probably the Pixel 6).
According to the report, Google is co-developing the new chip with Samsung—who also have their own (rather unpopular) Exynos chips that power Galaxy mobile devices in certain regions or markets. Meanwhile, the Whitechapel chip has also reportedly been referred to in documentation as “Slider”—a codename that is supposedly connected to Samsung. This could mean that Google’s SoC might have certain things in common with the South Korean firm’s Exynos chips, such as on the software side of things.
Meanwhile, other information revealed includes the first phones that will reportedly run on the “Slider” platform: Raven and Oriole. These are supposedly internal codenames for two Pixel phones: the flagship Pixel 6, as well as a successor to the more affordable Pixel 4a 5G.
As for technicalities, not much has been revealed just yet. XDA Developers reports that the chip will have an octa-core ARM CPU with two Cortex-A78, two Cortex-A76, and four Cortex-A55 cores—mated to an ARM Mali GPU, and built on the 5nm process (Samsung). Based on these figures, the Whitechapel chip is reportedly predicted to be positioned as an upper-midrange chip, one that will go up against the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7xx series SoCs.
For now, however, Google has yet to comments on the speculation, so… take this with a pinch of salt. The search engine giants have not denied the rumours, however, so it does seem likely that we will—at some point—see Google’s in-house-developed chips sooner rather than later. And, of course, they will almost certainly debut on Google’s Pixel series first.