Google has slowly been working towards building up its hardware division with the end goal apparently being to create more of its own devices and components. The question had been whether Google was going to try to be more like Microsoft where its own designs served as a reference for other manufacturers, or if it wanted to be like Apple and design the whole stack to ensure the best performance on its own devices. The latest news may have the answer.
Google has reportedly hired more than twelve new microchip engineers from major competitors like Qualcomm, Intel, Broadcom, and Nvidia. The plan is to set up a new site in Bengaluru, India where Google will design its own processors. The team at the site is currently at around 20 people -- 16 engineers and 4 recruiters -- but word has it that Google may expand the team to around 80 people by the end of the year.
Just like Apple, Google would design the chips they want for various devices -- Pixel phones, Chromebooks, Google Home devices, maybe even a tablet or wearable -- then send the design off to a manufacturer to build the components. Google has already worked closely with chipmakers like Qualcomm to have certain components on their Pixel SoCs, like specialized co-processors for imaging, but this would be an opportunity for Google to fully design the chip in a way to best take advantage of how they optimize Android itself. Or design chips highly specialized for natural language processing for Google Home devices.
It sounds like Google is planning to ramp up the team pretty quickly, but it's still unknown when we might see the first chips actually built and put into hardware.