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Yes, Google is Making Chips for Chromebooks Too

Posted September 1, 2021 | Chrome OS | Chromebook | Google | Hardware | Mobile | Pixelbook | Windows

With Google set to release the first Pixel handsets with its own in-house microprocessors, this won’t come as much of a surprise: The online giant plans to make similar chipsets for its Chromebooks soon as well.

At least that’s according to an exclusive report in Nikkei Asia, which notes that its first custom-designed microprocessors—really, System on a Chip (SoC)—designs should appear in Chromebook “laptops and tablets” in 2023. The publication cites three sources who are familiar with Google’s plans.

As Nikkei Asia says, Google’s accelerating hardware plans are part of an effort to further differentiate its offerings from those of its rivals, and, of course, to mimic what Apple has done so successfully. Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, and other platform makers are pursuing similar efforts, though few are as advanced as is Google.

Google has been designing custom chipsets for its Pixel handsets (and for its datacenters) for years, of course, but its move into microprocessors/SoCs marks a major step forward, as it allows the firm to do what Apple already does: Tie its software and hardware innovations together to create even more integrated experiences. Today, Google is able to achieve incredible results with low- and medium-end Qualcomm processors and out-of-date camera sensors, so it’s likely that the firm’s products will be truly impressive and distinctive if it can control even more of the hardware stack.

Nikkei Asia also claims that the new Google chipsets, like those coming in the Pixel 6 series, are based on Arm designs. Google saw its smartphone sales halved last year to just 3.7 million units, thanks in large part to COVID-19, but it is reportedly telling supplies to expect much better sales in the coming year. Google’s sales of Chromebooks, meanwhile, doubled during the pandemic.

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