Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Jun 2017 22:13 UTC
Google

Google has hired a veteran chip architect away from Apple and is now looking to build its own chips for future versions of its flagship Pixel phone, Variety has learned from sources familiar with the hire. Manu Gulati, who had been spearheading Apple's own chip developments for close to eight years, joined Google in the last few weeks. He publicly announced the job change on his Linkedin profile Tuesday morning, stating that he now works as Google's Lead SoC Architect.

Unsurprising, since Google publicly stated that they were going to build their own silicon for the Pixel way back in October 2016. Google has reportedly also made a deal with LG for displays. It doesn't take rocket science to figure out Google is taking this whole Pixel thing a lot more serious than the glorified rebrand HTC phone that is the first Pixel seems to illustrate.

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Poaching
by Alfman on Thu 15th Jun 2017 00:53 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28
Comment by mail4asim
by mail4asim on Thu 15th Jun 2017 05:31 UTC
mail4asim
Member since:
2005-07-12

"Way back in Oct 2016" ?

Wasn't that only 8 months ago ?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by mail4asim
by Kochise on Thu 15th Jun 2017 09:17 UTC in reply to "Comment by mail4asim"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

We're talking about smartphone and computer industry where products are 'new' only until the next iteration hits the market.

Not counting in the planned obsolescence that renders most of these shiny toys useless in a snap of a firmware update. Or lack of.

Reply Score: 3

Taking it seriously
by REM2000 on Thu 15th Jun 2017 07:34 UTC
REM2000
Member since:
2006-07-25

Im pleased that google is taking something seriously, just lately it seems that everything from google is just some lab experiment that will end up being taken off the shelves and no longer supported.

I hope they keep pushing the pixel brand like microsoft has done with the surface brand.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kurkosdr
by kurkosdr on Thu 15th Jun 2017 12:10 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

If I was Qualcomm, I would seriously reconsider the "no new drivers after 24 months" policy right now...

Edited 2017-06-15 12:22 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by Alfman on Thu 15th Jun 2017 12:47 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kurkosdr,

If I was Qualcomm, I would seriously reconsider the "no new drivers after 24 months" policy right now...


That's an interesting thought, however the further google gets into the hardware game, the more it might become like qualcomm in that respect; pushing more units = encouraging people to dispose of old ones.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr
by kurkosdr on Fri 16th Jun 2017 08:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kurkosdr"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11


That's an interesting thought, however the further google gets into the hardware game, the more it might become like qualcomm in that respect; pushing more units = encouraging people to dispose of old ones.


On the other hand, Google's real money maker is services and they 've been fighting to get their newest services on old OS versions for years, so it is easy to imagine that in their vision of a perfect world, all serviceable devices would run the latest version of the OS ready to accept their newset services/apps.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by kurkosdr
by Alfman on Fri 16th Jun 2017 12:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kurkosdr,

On the other hand, Google's real money maker is services and they 've been fighting to get their newest services on old OS versions for years, so it is easy to imagine that in their vision of a perfect world, all serviceable devices would run the latest version of the OS ready to accept their newset services/apps.


Maybe, but google is one of the few companies who's leadership, if willing, would have the power to demand better support in exchange for licensing the android branding on behalf of users. Undoubtedly manufacturers are at fault, but google's own indifference and inaction is also to blame for the the current status quo.


The current situation where users are forced to throw away their phone to have new software is awful. Given how problematic the situation has been for so long, I just think google should have done something. They could even make android drivers ABI compatible such that proprietary modules would continue to work after upgrades, more like windows.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by kurkosdr
by kurkosdr on Fri 16th Jun 2017 22:17 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by kurkosdr"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

kurkosdr,

Maybe, but google is one of the few companies who's leadership, if willing, would have the power to demand better support in exchange for licensing the android branding on behalf of users. Undoubtedly manufacturers are at fault, but google's own indifference and inaction is also to blame for the the current status quo.

If SoC vendors don't change their driver support policy, manufacturers can't do crap no matter how much Google pushes them. Google could mandate security updates, but Google doesn't really care about security and only pays lip service to it.


The current situation where users are forced to throw away their phone to have new software is awful. Given how problematic the situation has been for so long, I just think google should have done something. They could even make android drivers ABI compatible such that proprietary modules would continue to work after upgrades, more like windows.


Google apparently doesn't want to commit to API stability, although Project Treble could be something resembling that. Apparently, they think that solving their upgrade problems via developing their own SoC is preferable to commiting to a stable ABI.

Edited 2017-06-16 22:17 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by kurkosdr
by Alfman on Sat 17th Jun 2017 00:45 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by kurkosdr"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kurkosdr,

If SoC vendors don't change their driver support policy, manufacturers can't do crap no matter how much Google pushes them. Google could mandate security updates,


A google mandate would change the supply and demand economics. SoC vendors that don't cooperate will quickly feel a drop in demand in favor of those who do.

but Google doesn't really care about security and only pays lip service to it.


:(


Google apparently doesn't want to commit to API stability, although Project Treble could be something resembling that. Apparently, they think that solving their upgrade problems via developing their own SoC is preferable to commiting to a stable ABI.


We'll have to wait and see.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by kurkosdr
by kurkosdr on Mon 19th Jun 2017 16:27 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by kurkosdr"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

A google mandate would change the supply and demand economics. SoC vendors that don't cooperate will quickly feel a drop in demand in favor of those who do.


Nope, it's called an oligopoly, SoC vendors can simply refuse, and hold the Android ecosystem in a standstill.

Which is probably the reason for Google doing their own chips. If those chips Google will make are indeed SoCd, it is probably a Pixel programme for SoCs to show the oligopoly how it should be done.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by kurkosdr
by Alfman on Mon 19th Jun 2017 17:45 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by kurkosdr"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kurkosdr,

Nope, it's called an oligopoly, SoC vendors can simply refuse, and hold the Android ecosystem in a standstill.


You say that as though google has no power to draw them in, but to claim that would be ignorant of the fact that android has about 90% market share.

http://www.idc.com/promo/smartphone-market-share/os

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/03/google-android-hits-market-share-rec...

The reality is people buying android don't care about the chips inside. If the SoC vendors don't have google as customers, the truth is they're going to be hurting very badly competing over 10% of the market.

Even if you want to debate that the SoC vendors can collude (which is illegal btw) to stop google from acting in the interests of consumers, the incentives of of defecting from this pact are very large. Not only do they get an instant monopoly for siding with google when other colluders don't, but they also get positive PR and good will for helping to make phones more supportable.


I understand what you are saying, but let's not pretend google is David facing the SoC vendors as Goliath. Google DOES have power and they CAN change the industry, whether they care to do so is up to their leadership.


Which is probably the reason for Google doing their own chips. If those chips Google will make are indeed SoCd, it is probably a Pixel programme for SoCs to show the oligopoly how it should be done.


Isn't this another factor that makes the SoC vendors position weaker? If google and apple are willing and able to develop their own chips (in-house or through contracting), then how long can SoC vendors who don't participate really remain relevant to the smartphone market?

Edited 2017-06-19 17:48 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Flatland_Spider
by Flatland_Spider on Thu 15th Jun 2017 15:33 UTC
Flatland_Spider
Member since:
2006-09-01

Are we sure this is about Pixel phones?

Google built the Tensor chip to accelerate machine learning, and they are heavily invested in autonomous cars.

Reply Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Are we sure this is about Pixel phones?

Google built the Tensor chip to accelerate machine learning, and they are heavily invested in autonomous cars.


No, that's waymo that does autonomous cars. Google is only a sibling, not a parent of that company. If his focus was automated cars, I think that he'd be a waymo employee. Still could be something non consumer facing, like tensor chips, or ultra low power arm server design for data center energy savings.

Reply Score: 2

Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

You're correct. I forgot they broke it up into separate companies.

I'm mostly thinking this is about integrating hardware accelerators, like the Tensor, into custom server chips, and I would be shocked if the next Pixel phone didn't have a COTS Qualcomm SoC.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Gargyle
by Gargyle on Mon 19th Jun 2017 14:32 UTC
Gargyle
Member since:
2015-03-27

UnsurprisingLY.

Taking it seriousLY.

Come on Thom, drop those Americanisms and write some proper English!

Reply Score: 1