The chipset is apparently codenamed Whitechapel, and Axios’ source – “a source familiar with Google's effort” – said it is being “designed in cooperation” with Samsung using 5-naometer technology not yet seen in smartphones.
The report claims Google received its first working versions of the new processor in recent weeks and is aiming to put them to use in 2021’s Google Pixel phone if possible. This means Google could be working to use a non-Qualcomm chip for the first time in its Pixel 6 phone.
The Pixel 5 is still expected later this year, though rumours are that Google doesn’t want to use the high-end Snapdragon 865 and might opt for the 765 or 765G that still offer good performance and 5G.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 is a more costly chip for OEMs than comparative chips from previous years, and has consequently helped to drive up the price of 2020’s flagship Android devices like the OnePlus 8 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S20 series.
If Google were to start using its own processors it’d be a blow to Qualcomm – not necessarily in terms of sales, in which Pixel phones perform poorly, but from a PR perspective. If the company that builds Android doesn’t want to use the platform’s most popular processor, it could call Qualcomm’s dominance and pricing into question.
In the smartphone space, Apple, Huawei and Samsung currently manufacture their own chipsets and use them in most of their phones (in Apple’s case it’s all of them, though Samsung actually helps manufacture those chips).