Google hires key chip designer from Apple to develop its own chipsets

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Google is ramping up its chip development efforts by hiring leading engineers from Apple.

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The search giant has hired several key talent from Apple including well-regarded chip designer John Bruno. Bruno has updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect that he has joined Google as System Architect. The Information reports that Google has hired Bruno to grow the team working on its chip development efforts. Bruno was responsible for the silicon competitive analysis group at Apple. The group ensured that Apple stayed ahead of its peers in terms of chip design and computing performance. Bruno has also worked as one of the lead developers of AMD’s Fusion processor for PC.

At Google, Bruno joins other Apple talents including Manu Gulati, Wonjae (Gregory) Choi and Tayo Fadelu. Gulati was one of the key hires since he played a key role in development of Apple’s A-series mobile chipsets, and the hiring sent a strong signal that Google is working on its own chipset for Pixel phones and other smart devices. To further bolster its efforts, Google has also hired chip engineers from Qualcomm, the leading chip manufacturer in the smartphone space.

Apple, Samsung and Huawei are the only three companies building in-house chipsets for their smartphones. Most other smartphone makers rely on chips from either Qualcomm or MediaTek. The iPhone and iPads are powered by Apple’s own A-series chipset, while Samsung uses its in-house Exynos-branded chipsets on Galaxy phones in select markets. Huawei and its e-brand Honor rely on company’s in-house HiSilicon Kirin branded chipsets to set itself apart from others in the business. However, Apple’s A-series has healthy lead over other chip makers in terms of single-core performance.

By designing its own chipset, Google can bring similar level of sophistication between hardware and software on its devices. The company showed its ambition to put its own chips under Pixel phones when it launched the new Pixel 2 with dedicated Pixel Visual Core. The Pixel Visual Core is a eight-core custom chipset designed in collaboration with Intel for faster processing of HDR images.

The report further adds that Google’s in-house mobile chip could arrive soon if it uses intellectual property from ARM Holdings, a British semiconductor and software design company. It is not clear whether Google goes that way, but its own chipset will hurt Qualcomm whose chipset power current generation of Pixel devices.

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