A new rumor suggests that Google is in the process of designing a new system-on-chip (SoC) for the next generation of Chromebook laptops and tablets. The chip would be built atop an Arm CPU core, and could feature additional GPUs licensed from other companies.
According to the rumor, the new SoCs would debut in Chromebook devices that hit the market in 2023. However, this is not the first time that Google has experimented with its own chips. The tech giant unveiled a Tensor Processing Unit all the way back in 2016 that was built to take advantage of Google’s open source TensorFlow software, and has since indicated that it will feature the Tensor chip in its Pixel 6 line of smartphones.
The new SoCs would presumably help Google realize similar efficiency gains in some of its other products. In that regard, the SoC would include a custom acceleration engine, and allow Google to make the best use of the software stack that runs on the chip. Most notably, the SoC would optimize Google’s machine learning and cloud processing capabilities, which would in turn boost the performance of facial recognition and other computer vision applications. The technology could also facilitate speech recognition.
Google unveiled the fourth iteration of its Tensor Processing Unit in May. The company would be licensing Arm’s CPU blueprints to build the chip, and is expected to outsource the actual manufacturing to a company like TSMC or Samsung. In doing so, it would be following in the footsteps of rivals like Amazon and Apple, which have similarly developed proprietary SoCs for their own portfolios.
Google recently revealed that the upcoming Pixel 5 will not have facial recognition capabilities, citing the high cost of its Soli radar chip as a key factor in its decision. In the meantime, many of the latest Chromebooks have featured fingerprint sensors from FPC.
Source: The Register