The Pixel 6 is the first significant reinvention to Google’s smartphone series we’ve seen in years. It’s not just a design change, either — thanks to the new Tensor SoC, we’re hoping to see the company’s most powerful flagship device yet. Pixel phones are only one entry in Google’s ever-expanding lineup of hardware, of course. If you’ve been waiting to see a Chromebook powered by custom silicon, you might not have to wait too much longer.
According to a new report from Nikkei Asia (via 9to5Google), Google is developing CPUs for both Chromebooks and Chrome OS-powered tablets, currently slated for a 2023 launch. As you might expect, these processors are based on ARM rather than x86, just like this year’s Tensor SoC. Although Intel processors still power plenty of mainstream Chromebooks today, chips like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c are slowly appearing in more devices.
Google’s move into working on its own custom processors for devices outside of smartphones is reportedly inspired by Apple’s switch to the M1 chip in last year’s MacBook lineup. Considering the praise heaped upon Apple for pulling off the seemingly impossible — especially on the first generation — probably played a role in these new plans as well.
Although we have yet to see Tensor in action, Google feels strong about the Pixel 6’s potential. Nikkei Asia also reports that the company asked suppliers to ready 50% more production capacity for its smartphones than in 2019. Considering that year was the company’s best on record for Pixel sales — 7 million devices, compared to just 3.7 million last year — it’s certainly an ambitious goal. As the only US-based manufacturer still making Android phones, Google sees a chance to hit it big in the global market.