With the introduction of the Pixel phone last year, Google made it clear to its rivals that it was bringing its focus to hardware. Popular for mastering software, the company outsourced the making of its Nexus phones to companies like HTC and LG, but all that changed with the Pixel last year. Now, Google’s latest hire indicates that the company is going all in with homegrown products. Google has reportedly hired Apple’s chip architect Manu Gulati to head its own custom chip ambitions, and has even posted several job postings that indicate Google is on a steady road to building its own custom SoC, just like Apple.
Variety reports that after working at Apple for nearly eight years developing custom chips for many of Apple’s products, Gulati has decided to make the switch to Google. He recently updated his LinkedIn profile to indicate that he now works at Google. Gulati holds 27 years of expertise in the industry, and has worked with companies like AMD and Broadcom in the past.
Apple’s custom chips give its products a competitive advantage over Android flagships that largely rely on Qualcomm to produce silicon for their devices, and are known for their industry-leading performance on most benchmarks.
Gulati’s name figures on as many as 15 chip-related patents that Apple has filed in the past – some of these patents are said to be application specific, while others are related to chip architecture. One of these is around Apple Pay and hardware-based security that protects your fingerprint on the iPhone. With his level of knowledge and skill, hiring Gulati is a big advantage for Google and a loss for Apple.
Google, like most other Android smartphone makers, relies on Qualcomm for chips for its mobile devices, and Google division Nest uses chips from Texas Instruments. But all of this could change soon, and Google could introduce a custom chip of its own.