Google silicon could make Pixel the biggest iPhone competitor

Next Pixel phone could use Google-made chip

Credit: IDG

When Google launched its first Pixel phone, we all assumed it would be the iPhone's biggest competitor. It didn't quite work out that way. The Pixel has yet to break out among Android's biggest selling phones and launches have been plagued with numerous bugs and issues.

That might change with the upcoming Pixel 6. A new report from 9to5Google says that the Pixel 6 will use Google's first system-on-chip, codenamed GS101 Whitechapel. The Pixel would then be one of the only U.S. Android phones to ship without a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

The report says Google has assistance from Samsung to make the chip and it could share some common features. Samsung manufactured several of Apple's earliest A-series chips before shifting to TSMC.

It's not clear from the report whether the chip would be modelled after higher-end processors such as the Snapdragon 888 or stay closer to the mid-range like the Pixel 5's Snapdragon 765.

Overseas phones from Samsung use its own Exynos chips, but Qualcomm largely has a monopoly on phones in the U.S. A homegrown chip from Google would be a major break and could lead to a renaissance for the Pixel, which has struggled to gain traction. Apple has been making its own smartphone chips since the iPhone 4 and it gives its handsets a huge speed and power efficiency advantage over Android phones.

More importantly, a Google chip would give the iPhone its first true competitor that controls the whole stack. Google already makes one of the best cameras you can get in a smartphone, and recently it has begun siphoning features from Android to give the Pixel a degree of exclusivity.

By controlling the processor, hardware, and OS (like Apple) Google could create one of the best phones to run Android. There's a lot more that goes into it, of course, but the Pixel would instantly become the closest Android phone to an iPhone and make the competition between the two companies much more contentious.

The report also says the chip could power some Chromebooks as well, similar to Apple's M1 chip for Macs. Google's previous Chromebook efforts have used a range of processors from Intel that would be another blow to the chipmaker, which has taken to bashing the MacBook following Apple's split.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GooglePixel

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Michael Simon

Michael Simon
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?