Google’s Pixel 6 AI Shows How Custom Chips Are the Future

Google’s new Pixel 6 is gorgeous in caramel and raspberry, but it’s what’s going on inside that will change the game. 

Inside the pastel-toned cases of Google’s latest Pixel phones sits the Tensor, Google’s new system-on-a-chip (SoC), and its attempt to compete against Apple’s A-series chips. Like Apple Silicon, Tensor uses custom-designed chips matched to the hardware. In Google’s case, the Tensor includes a new security chip, the Titan M2, and a mobile TPU (Tensor Processing Unit), which is built to run AI processes like Night Sight, and Recorder voice transcription. This looks like the beginning of a trend that may topple the mighty all-purpose chips of Qualcomm and Intel.

“Intel, Qualcomm, and other semiconductor suppliers should be worried about the development of purpose-built processors by the likes of Apple and Google. These two events represent a trend toward application-specific processor development and are likely to continue with other, larger technology players,” Harry Pascarella, vice president of IoT analyst and strategy company Harbor Research, told Lifewire via email. 

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