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For a long time, Google has powered its Pixel phones exclusively with the Tensor processors. But the details of who manufactures them is not common knowledge to most everyday users. Yes, Google designs them, but in the end, Samsung makes them. The first Pixel down to the Pixel 5 phone used Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors. Tensor chips didn’t show up until the release of the Pixel 6 in 2021. Google continued using them up until the latest Pixel 8 series. 

Now, the company has plans to shake things up with the upcoming Pixel 10 phone in 2025. Recent rumors in circulation suggest that they are to switch from Samsung chips to processors from the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). The company may manufacture all future processors. 

Google spotted among TSMC customers

Google is reportedly expanding its research and development (R&D) center in Taiwan and hiring local engineers. A leakster took to his X account to share the information with the public. According to J. Reve, it’s a sign of the tech giant’s growing collaboration with TSMC, a leading manufacturer of mobile phone chips. 

From the Pixel 10 series to be released in 2025, Google will produce AP at TSMC’s 3nm process in Taiwan.

Google recently expanded its R&D center in Taiwan and is actively hiring local semiconductor engineers, with cooperation with TSMC in mind.

— J. Reve (@Revegnus1) May 14, 2024

He also shares what appears to be a list of different companies that TSMC will be serving with their 3-nanometer process nodes. Google is among them, and is mentioned alongside the recently announced Trillium TPU V6 technology. It’s Google’s 6th generation of TPU, and the latest advancement. However, the exact chip the company will be using on the Pixel 10 phone isn’t mentioned. But it’s most likely to be the Tensor G5.

TSMC 3nm process nodes customer base
Image: @Revegnus1 / X

TPU V6 promises a 4.7 times increase in peak compute performance per chip compared to the previous generation TPU v5e. It also has double the memory capacity and bandwidth. Google also claims that it’ll be over 67% more energy-efficient and power the next generation of large AI models, including those designed for self-driving cars, drug discovery, and natural language processing.

What Google’s switch to TSMC processors means for the future

Samsung is about to lose out on manufacturing the Pixel phone processors. It’s a big deal, considering that they’ve been working alongside Google to make processors for the best of its Pixel phones. While they’re also major players in the industry, TSMC’s nodes are superior. Also, it’s undeniable that Samsung is getting rusty with production.

Google's Tensor Chip Could Get A Welcome Boost In 2025 1
Image: Google

Their 5nm manufacturing process in 2022 suffered from a low yield rate. They had a higher percentage of silicon wafers with defects that impacted performance and battery consumption in chips like the Exynos 2200 and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. For clarity, silicon wafers are ultra-thin slices of silicon that manufacturers attach with circuits to become the brains of electronics. The Tensor G3 processor on Google’s Pixel 8 series also lagged behind competitors in terms of raw processing power.

While Google’s switch to TSMC processors will impact Samsung’s revenue, it’s a welcomed change as TSMC is a leader in chip manufacturing. For us users, that means faster and more efficient chips. You should also expect phone prices to go up because of these efficiency gains. Who knows? They just might stay the same.

Irene is an experienced writer with four years’ experience in the Tech, E-commerce, and Food niches. She currently writes for Talk Android and Android Police, where she geeks out about the latest innovative practices, solutions, and gadgets. When not writing, Irene embraces her inner couch potato, finding joy in gaming, singing, music, and of course, eating.

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