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Google Designing Its Own Next-Generation Smartphone SoCs?

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Courtesy Ron Amadeo and Intel

Google is starting to push to have more say in the design and architecture of the chips that run the Android system in smart phones.  They are also apparently making major investments into virtual reality, where some of the chip design effort is expected. And hiring staff from major SoC companies.

Ron Amadeo from the tech publication Ars Technica has published the following online report:  According to a pair of reports from The Information (subscription required), Google has big ambitions for the inside of Android phones. The report says the search giant has sent a long list of requests to chip manufacturers for future SoC designs and that Google is even planning to build its own processors.

The report says that during discussions that happened this fall, “Google representatives put forward designs of chips it was interested in co-developing, including a phone’s main processor.” The new chips are reportedly needed for future Android features that Google hopes to release “in the next few years.” By designing its own chips, Google can make sure the right amount of horsepower gets assigned to all the right places and remove bottlenecks that would slow down these new features.

The report specifically calls out “virtual and augmented reality” as use cases for the new chips. Publicly, only Google Cardboard has surfaced from Google’s VR initiative, but internally, it seems like the company is gearing up for a huge VR push. Some of Google’s biggest names have left their posts on flagship products to go work on the virtual reality team: Jon Wiley, the lead designer of Google Search, and Alex Faaborg, the former lead designer for Firefox, Google Now, and Android Wear. An earlier report from The Wall Street Journal claimed Google was building a version of Android that would become a virtual reality operating system.

Read the rest of Ron Amadeo’s article here and learn who Google is hiring.

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