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  1. Google will reportedly use its own chip in the Pixel 6 The SoC, codenamed Whitechapel, may arrive this fall. Chris Velazco/Engadget Rumors about Google working on its own system on chip (SoC) have been swirling since 2020, and today a new report asserts that the company is going to debut its first SoC in its next flagship. According to documentation 9to5Google says it saw, the chipset, codenamed Whitechapel, will power Pixel phones that are slated to launch this fall. Earlier reports had indicated that Whitechapel would be an SoC for phones and Chromebooks, and that Google had been working with Samsung to develop the processors. Today's article from 9to5Google highlights a connection to Samsung's Exynos chipsets, noting that Whitechapel "is being developed with Samsung Semiconductor's system large-scale integration (SLSI) division." There are several codenames called out in 9to5Google's report, including "GS101", which the outlet says is an internal company moniker for the chip. 9to5Google also speculates that the letters GS could stand for Google Silicon. Another codename highlighted in this report is "Slider" which the publication believes is a "shared platform for the first Whitechapel SoC." Slider is linked to several other projects, including two more codenames — "Raven" and "Oriole." These are believed to be upcoming Pixel flagships slated for launch this fall, with one of them expected to be the Pixel 6. Google declined to comment on this report when Engadget reached out for confirmation. Given the company's history of codename use and the persistent rumors around Whitechapel, this report does carry some weight. With phone makers like Samsung, Apple, Huawei and Xiaomi having already made or appearing to shift to their own chipsets, it's not surprising that Google could be doing the same. While none of this is official yet and we're still months away from the expected Pixel 6 launch (which usually happens in October), it's likely we'll continue to hear more about this Google SoC as we hurtle towards fall. Source: Google will reportedly use its own chip in the Pixel 6
  2. Sony PlayStation 5 SoC die pictured up close Fritzens Fritz delivers the first photos of the Sony PS5 System on a Chip. Unlike Microsoft who was quick to showcase its Xbox Series S and X die shots, Sony has never shown what is under the hood of the PS5 System on a Chip. It has been months since PS5 was introduced, but only now we get to see a chip codenamed AMD Flute up close. Play Station 5 SoC, Source: Fritzchens Fritz The Sony PS5 SoC codenamed known as Oberon or Ariel is based on AMD technology (Flute is AMD codename). It features both AMD Zen2 core architecture as well as RDNA2 GPU. The 8-cores Zen2 cores are clocked up to 3.5 GHz, while 36 RDNA2 Compute Units can reach a clock speed up to 2.23 GHz. Sony announced that its PS5 chip will feature liquid metal instead of traditional thermal paste. This would ensure a longer lifespan and increase heat exchange between the chip and the cooler. However, at the same time, it increases the production complexity and forces Sony to use custom packing solutions to ensure no liquid metal spill would occur. Play Station 5 SoC, Source: Fritzchens Fritz The die was pictured using a special microscope using short wave infrared light (SWIR). This technology allows the photographer to look under the hood and see the internals of the SoC without typical detaching and grinding techniques, which would also destroy the chip in the process. Sony PS5 chip has 8 cores located on the left side, while 36 Compute Units are packed together in a middle. The die picture confirms that the chip features eight 32-bit memory interfaces for GDDR6 memory. It also confirms that the chip has some changes to the layout compared to Zen2 based APUs. It would appear that the chip has some Fixed Function Units (FFU) missing as well as Fused Multiply-Add (FMA/FMADD) are not be seen on the chip. Those units were likely removed as they are not required for a gaming console. Play Station 5 SoC, Source: Fritzchens Fritz Play Station 5 SoC layout, Source: Locuza Official die shot of the Xbox Seriex X has been shown by Microsoft even before the console was released: Xbox Series X SoC, Source: Microsoft Source: @FritzchensFritz, @Locuza_ Source: Sony PlayStation 5 SoC die pictured up close
  3. Google wants to dump Qualcomm, launch smartphone SoC as early as next year The Pixel 6 could have a Google-built processor. Ron Amadeo/Intel 93 with 63 posters participating A new report from Axios claims that Google has "made significant progress toward developing its own processor to power future versions of its Pixel smartphone" and that a Google-made SoC could debut in a phone as early as next year. Google is apparently teaming up with Samsung, which is providing design support and manufacturing for the project, codenamed "Whitechapel." The report says the Google SoC is an eight-core ARM processor with hardware "optimized for Google's machine learning technology" and the always-on capabilities of the Google Assistant. The chip would be built at Samsung's foundries on the firm's upcoming 5nm process, and, in addition to being aimed at the Pixel, the report says that "subsequent versions" of the chip could be used in Chromebooks. Google has been building custom smartphone silicon for a while now. It debuted a custom camera SoC—not a main system SoC—in the Pixel 2, called the "Pixel Visual Core," which was built in collaboration with Intel. The Pixel 3 and 4 have had similar photography-focused chips, now called the "Pixel Neural Core." Since the Pixel 3, the phones have had Google's "Titan M" security module, an isolated chip that handles the phone's verified boot and cryptographic key storage. In the Pixel 4, there's also Project Soli, a radar system that was shrunken down to a tiny piece of silicon. You can see how Google building its own system SoC could be a natural step after all this other silicon work. The company has been hiring chip designers from Intel and Qualcomm for some time now. Google developing its own phone processor would mean dumping the Qualcomm SoCs it usually uses. Of course, you can never truly be rid of Qualcomm: Google would presumably still need to use Qualcomm modems, something that even Apple still needs to do. There are other modem manufacturers out there—Samsung, Huawei, Mediatek—but Qualcomm's combination of patents and strong-arm licensing techniques has effectively locked its competitors out of the US and other markets. An SoC division would give Google some much-needed flexibility when it comes to hardware. The report doesn't mention anything about smartwatches, but the real problem Google's hardware ecosystem has right now is a lack of smartwatch chips. Qualcomm has an SoC monopoly but has decided to basically ignore the smartwatch market, so for years there have been no modern options for a smartwatch chip. This isn't just about smartwatches, ether. If Google wants to build any kind of new form-factor wearable, it needs to get Qualcomm on board first. Right now, if Qualcomm says no, like it did for smartwatches, the market ceases to exist. The most successful in-house SoC division is easily Apple's, which regularly produces chips that wipe the floor with Qualcomm's smartphone and smartwatch SoCs. Apple's SoC division lets it produce chips for whatever hardware form factors it wants—the Apple Watch owes its entire existence to Apple's fast and battery efficient "S" SoCs. Airpods run on the "H" SoCs and can pick up whatever features Apple wants. Apple can choose its own destiny instead of assembling puzzle pieces from other vendors. Similarly, Huawei has had all US hardware stripped away from it via executive order and keeps on trucking thanks to the protection offered by its in-house "HiSilicon" SoC division, which produces smartphone and smartwatch SoCs. Samsung's Exynos SoC division isn't as successful as Apple's and Huawei's, but it lets it build viable smartwatch SoCs for its Galaxy Watch line. The company hasn't been as successful with smartphone SoCs, which are generally worse than Qualcomm's options. Source: Google wants to dump Qualcomm, launch smartphone SoC as early as next year (Ars Technica)
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