Whitechapel could deliver Snapdragon 870-esque performance
As we get closer to the launch of the Pixel 6, we’re bound to find out more about the in-house Whitechapel system-on-chip that’s likely to power Google’s phones. And thanks to some new Product Validation Testing (PVT) units, we’ve learned a bit more about what Google is working on with the Pixel 6.
Previous leaks have suggested that the Whitechapel, which is called the GS101 internally, won’t match the Snapdragon 888, which powers the flagship Android phones that surfaced this year. Instead, the specs for these PVT units are whitechapel in line with the Snapdragon 870, which is still pretty respectable. That said, Google is aiming for top-tier AI and machine learning performance, rather than making the fastest chip possible, as Apple does with its iPhone-powering A series chips.
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As previously reported, Google is said to be working with Samsung to develop the chip. It looks like Whitechapel will be built on Samsung’s 5nm LPE node. Theoretically this could mean a more power-efficient SoC, potentially prolonging battery life slightly compared to larger processes. That said, we can’t make that assumption until we look at real-world performance and metrics.
How will Whitechapel perform?
Whitechapel is believed to use two Cortex-A78 cores, two Cortex-A76 cores and three Cortex-A55 cores. Rumors also suggest that the chip uses a Mali-G78 GPU, though Google may have figured out how to solve the GPU’s infamous throttling problem.
So Whitechapel is unlikely to match the Snapdragon 888 or the Snapdragon 888 Plus, let alone the rumored Snapdragon 895. But in real-world use, most users are unlikely to notice a difference in performance.
In fact, we expect Google to really fine-tune Whitechapel to maximize performance with software optimizations. Since the company will control the hardware, it can make the most of the chip, just like Apple does with the iPhones and A Bionic chips. That said, we don’t expect the Pixel 6 to go face-to-face with the upcoming iPhone 13 in terms of performance, but Google could take the lead in AI and machine learning capabilities. We’ll just have to see.
All of this means the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will have more than enough performance, giving Google a platform to truly flex its AI and machine learning muscles. This could allow the company to support the phone for a longer period of time, a pipe dream for Android users up to this point.
Whitechapel and Android Update
Whitechapel could help Google match Apple’s level of support, which could last more than five years. This fall’s iOS 15 update, for example, runs on the iPhone that came out in 2015. On the Android side of things, Qualcomm stands in the way of lengthy update policies, meaning three years of platform updates have been the best Android maker could manage.
Last week, leaker John Prosser published specs for the upcoming Pixel phone, in which he noted five years of updates. While Google hasn’t confirmed it yet, we’re quite hopeful.
Finally, rumors suggest that Whitechapel will have a new security chip called Dauntless, which is set to replace the Titan-M chips currently found on Pixel phones. We don’t know much about Dauntless right now, but it should improve the Pixel 6’s security further.
We are still a few months away from the Pixel 6 launch, and leaks and rumors have already told a lot. Still, it looks like Google is preparing for a big launch, putting the Pixel 6 back in the spotlight on the definitive Android experience.
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