With its Tensor chip, Google has turned the spotlight on its new Pixel to come. But the announced SoC might not be what is believed.
After months of rumours, Google has finally made the news official: its next Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 XL will be equipped not with a Snapdragon SoC as traditionally, but with a custom chip developed in partnership with Samsung: Tensor. An announcement left to hope for an equivalent of iPhones in the Android ecosystem, with Pixels powered by hardware and software designed by the same entity.
Samsung would be at the controls, much more than Google
But our hopes seem to evaporate quickly. While Apple designs its chips itself and then entrusts their manufacture to a foundry, such as TSMC, it appears that Google is little involved in the design of Tensor SoCs, leaving Samsung the bulk of the work on the issue, reports the Dutch media Galaxy Club.
The custom chip presented as Google’s “home” could ultimately only be an Exynos SoC renamed. Indeed, Samsung has been working for more than a year on a codenamed Whitechapel chip, also called Exynos 9855.
Whitechapel is also the code name used internally at Google to designate the Tensor chip until its formalization. The Pixel 6 and 6 XL will probably embed this SoC Exynos 9855.
Tensor, a boosted Exynos 2100?
This chip would have begun to be developed around the same time as the Exynos 9925. The latter should be marketed under the name Exynos 2200 and ensure the performance of smartphones of the Galaxy S22 series. We have already heard about it because Samsung has allied with AMD to boost the GPU of this SoC.
If we follow the logic of the terminology of Samsung, the Exynos 9855 (Tensor, therefore) would be between the Exynos 9840 (released under the name Exynos 2100, the chip of the Galaxy S21) and the Exynos 9925 (Exynos 2200). A tensor can therefore be expected to be an improved custom version of the Exynos 2100.
The result may be compelling, but if this information is confirmed, we would be far from the “home” chip that tried to sell us Google.