In 2024, Google’s Tensor SoC might not bring substantial enhancements
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Google ventured into the realm of custom mobile chips with the Tensor G1, which debuted in the Pixel 6. While not a fully custom-designed SoC, it marked Google’s partnership with Samsung’s LSI division, utilizing one of its reference designs as the foundation.
Progressing to the Tensor G2, Google delved deeper into customizations, delivering improved AI and ML performance. Initially, Google intended to shift to its entirely in-house custom Tensor chip for the Pixel 9 in 2024, but this plan faced a year-long delay. Recent leaks now illuminate the Pixel 9’s Tensor G4 and Google’s custom chip aspirations.
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Initially, Google was developing its fully customized “Redondo” chip for the 2024 Pixel 9 series, to be manufactured on TSMC’s 3nm node. Nevertheless, delays have postponed the chipset’s debut by a year. Despite this, the SoC will still undergo production for testing purposes, as the 2025 Pixel’s SoC is expected to incorporate many of the design elements of “Redondo.”
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For the 2025 Pixel models, Google is working on the “Laguna Beach” Tensor chipset, with the development board going by the name “Deepspace.” While specific details about this SoC remain undisclosed, it is anticipated to include significant optimizations and IP blocks tailored to meet Google’s requirements.
Now, in the best-case scenario and barring further delays, Google’s custom Tensor chip should make its debut in the 2025 Pixel 10 series. But what about the Pixel 9? Reportedly, Google intends to continue its partnership with Samsung for another year, with the 2024 Pixel devices utilizing an upgraded variant of the Tensor G3.
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According to Android Authority, the Tensor G4 carries the codename “Zuma Pro,” whereas the upcoming Pixel 8’s Tensor G3 is internally referred to as “Zuma.” This implies that the Tensor G4 in the Pixel 9 will be built upon the foundation of the G3 and is expected to feature incremental improvements compared to the initial plan.
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While this may raise questions, it’s essential to note that the Tensor G3 is shaping up to be a significant upgrade in its own right. It is rumored to sport nine CPU cores in a 4+4+1 configuration, comprising four Cortex-A510 cores, four Cortex-A715 cores, and a single high-performance Cortex-X3 core clocked at 3.0 GHz. The TPU (Tensor Processing Unit) is also in line for an upgrade, albeit with specific improvements remaining unclear.
For context, Google internally names the Tensor G2 as “Whitechapel Pro,” while the original Tensor is codenamed “Whitechapel.” The latter primarily focused on efficiency enhancements with marginal performance improvements.
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Google’s custom chip for the Pixel series is still at least two years away from its debut, leaving room for potential changes and refinements. However, if Google can replicate the performance and efficiency standards set by Apple’s A-series chips for iPhones and iPads with its custom-designed Tensor SoCs, it could position the Pixel lineup as a standout choice among the best Android phones.