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Google looking at options design own chip

  • Author:Abby
  • Release on :2015-11-18

Google appears to be looking at options for standardizing chip design, which could address some of the fragmentation issues in the Android device market.

Earlier this month, technology news site The Information reported that Google was talking with microchip manufacturers about producing chips with its own custom design. Since then, speculation has been running high about what this could mean for Android-powered devices. Are Google chips the future of Android smartphones? Part of Apple’s success is standardized hardware to which it can push out finely tuned software updates. Could Google want the same thing?

Even if Google can pull it off, having a standardized chip design does not solve the issue with the plethora of other hardware options in the Android world. In fact, that is part of the appeal. EE Times talked to Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts, who said, “Even if Google designs its own chips, this would not solve the fragmentation problem… inherent in the Android business model. Whenever Google tries to restrict the Android community, it loses business and is generally forced to relent.” By way of example, EE Times points to the Android One program which was not very successful in its first year in the developing markets where the phones were targeted, leading Google to overhaul the program. It turns out hardware differentiation is important to manufacturers.

It is already common to see certain chips surpass most others in popularity among high-end phones. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line of processors has long been a favorite, which has not helped as competition heats up in the production of ARM processors. MediaTek, meanwhile, is popular among many manufacturers in China. As EE Times mentions, Google must still contend with “multiple GPUs, DSPs, ISPs, CPU configurations (flavors of big-little, AMD vs. x86).” Apple does not have to deal with any of that. Even with various screen sizes, cameras and more proliferating in the Android market, standardized chip design could help Google push out updates faster since manufacturers might have less to modify before pushing thoseupgrades out to their users. This, in turn, might make it easier to market and sell certain phones, underscoring the possibility that chip design might soon become very important to those selling Android devices