Google Shifts from Samsung to TSMC for Manufacturing its First Custom Pixel Chip, Tensor G5

Google has followed in Apple’s footsteps by developing bespoke CPUs for its Pixel smartphones. The Pixel 6 series introduced Google’s own CPU, Tensor, based on Exynos processors made using the 5nm node technology. Google continued to use semi-custom Samsung-made chips in the Pixel 7 and future Pixel 8. However, it looks like Google intends to shift its chip strategy by partnering with TSMC and launching a fully customized Tensor G5 chip in 2025.

According to a former Google official contacted by The Information (via 9to5Google), the original idea was to deploy a fully unique Tensor processor as early as next year. However, the chip’s manufacture, codenamed Redondo, was delayed due to difficulties in retaining people and coordinating development across several teams. As a result, the chip’s anticipated completion date has been moved back to 2025. In line with prior rumors, the source reveals that Google is shifting production of the Tensor G5 processor from Samsung to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). This chip is expected to use TSMC’s superior 3-nanometer manufacturing process and Integrated Fan-Out technology for improved power efficiency and reduced thickness.

While we’ll have to wait a bit longer for a fully customized Tensor chip, this year’s Pixel 8 series will continue to rely on a processor created and produced by Samsung. Similarly, the Pixel smartphones expected for sale in 2024 will use a Samsung processor, albeit with fewer Samsung components than earlier generations.

Introducing a wholly bespoke processor will allow Google to achieve a more seamless combination of hardware and software, resulting in dramatically improved smartphone performance. Google hopes to improve the entire user experience and the capabilities of their Pixel smartphones by tightening the synergy between the two.

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