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ARMs Race | All about Google Tensor

Google has officially unveiled its next Pixel phones, the Pixel 6 series, powered by its own in-house chip called Tensor. Google now join’s Apple, Samsung and Microsoft in designing custom chips for their devices.

Say hello to Google Pixel 6

Tensor

Tensor will be the company’s first system-on-a-chip-technology marking a major achievement. Accompanying the new Google-designed Tensor chip is a wild new design for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, making a dramatic splash in the market in an attempt to wrestle Android markteshare away from Samsung. Samsung reportedly won the contract over TSMC to make Tensor. Tensor is believed to be an 8-Core SOC built using Samsung’s 5-nanometer technology. What isn’t clear at this point is if this Tensor’s development coincides with Samsung’s development of an Exynos chip with AMD Radeon graphics or if Samsung is keeping that for Exynos. Earlier rumors suggested the SOC would have two Cortex-A78 and two Cortex-A76 cores in addition to four Cortex-A55 CPU cores along with a 20-core ARM Mali GPU. Tensor is about more than just traditional computing power, it will focus on advanced AI and ML (Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning) to “unlock specific experiences for Pixel users.”

Rumors suggest that Google’s Tensor may actually be the Samsung Exynos 9855 that “never saw the light of day” according to GalaxyClub. The Exynos 9855 is believed to sit just under the Exynos 9925 also known as  Exynos 2200 that may ship with Samsung’s international Galaxy S22. They also said that Exynos 9855 bore another codename: Whitechapel.

The Whitechapel codename is significant because it has been the codename for GS101 or as we know it today, Tensor. So based on what we know about Exynos 9855, it sits between Exynos 2100 and Exynos 2200. The Exynos 2200 with the AMD Radeon RDNA2-based GPU is believed to be geared not only for Galaxy S22 but tablets like Galaxy Tab S8 and Galaxy Books as well.

To put these chip models in context, here is how Exynos 2100 does against Snapdragon 888:

Exynos 2100Snapdragon 888
Coresx1 Exynos-X1 @ 2.9GHz

x3 Cortex-A78 @ 2.8GHz

x4 Cortex-A55 @ 2.2GHz
x1 Cortex-X1 @ 2.84 GHz

x3 Cortex-A78 @ 2.42GHz

x4 Cortex-A55 @ 1.8GHz
GPUARM Mali-G78Adreno 660 @ 800MHz
AI Co-processorTri-core NPUHexagon 780
ModemExynos 5123
Downloads up to 7.3Gbps (mmWave)

5.1Gbps (sub-6GHz)

3Gbps (4G LTE)

uploads up to 422 Mbps
X60 modem

7.5Gbps over 5G

3Gbps over LTE
Single-core benchmark10881104
Multi-core benchmark34752913

In Google’s blog post, the company says that one of the company’s main priorities with Tensor was computational photography “with Tensor we thought about every piece of the chip and customized it to run Google’s computational photography models. For users, this means entirely new features, plus improvements to existing ones.”

“Tensor enables us to make the Google phones we’ve always envisioned — phones that keep getting better, while tapping the most powerful parts of Google, all in a highly personalized experience.”

Rick Osterloh SVP of Devices & Services at Google

Google says that Tensor will improve everything from “completely revamped camera system to speech recognition and much more. So, whether you’re trying to capture that family photo when your kids won’t stand still, or communicate with a relative in another language, Pixel will be there — and it will be more helpful than ever.” Despite the Tensor-powered Pixel 6 announcement, Google will launch the Pixel 5a this month, still powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip.

Any of our readers planning on snapping up a new Pixel 6 phone this fall? Let us know in the comments below.

A former industry insider and tech industry enthusiast.

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