back to article Google is designing its own Arm-based processors for 2023 Chromebooks – report

Google is reportedly designing its own Arm-based system-on-chips for Chromebook laptops and tablets to be launched in 2023. The internet search giant appears to be following the same path as Apple by developing its own line of processors for client devices, according to Nikkei Asia. Google earlier said its latest Pixel 6 and …

  1. dharmOS

    Don’t forget the OP1

    I have an ASUS ChromeBook that uses the OP1 ARM CPU. Specific part authorised by Google for CBs for a laptop type format rather than smartphone (but based on a rebadged Rockchip RK3399). Still surprisingly capable after its purchase in 2017.

    So hopefully an in-house Google custom design might/will be better than existing ARM designs from QC, Mediatek, Rockchip etc.

    1. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: Don’t forget the OP1

      Sounds about the same age as mine. I just with there were more native Chrome apps that understood the desktop better than all the Android cruft. I mean, given the scale of Chromebook sales today, that's one healthy but largely untapped market.

      I think I'd even prefer RISC OS if they ported it...

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Don’t forget the OP1

      They aren't designing their own CPU or GPU cores like Apple is. They are licensing the same ARM designed cores that all the other Android/ARM OEMs are using.

      Google isn't trying to compete on CPU or GPU performance, it is just a custom SoC that will include their Tensor AI blocks.

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Don’t forget the OP1

      From the rumours, they will be using Samsung Exynos chips with Tensor cores added.

  2. RyokuMas

    What's the betting...

    ... that with this, telemetry will be baked into the hardware and thus be impossible to bypass?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's the betting...

      I would say don't give them ideas. But sadly, you're probably not wrong.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: What's the betting...

      Why bother when they control the whole OS? If they want to, they can add a TPM unit to stop of OSes being installed but "baking in" telemetry would be an invitation to class action lawsuits.

      But seeing as most people are already more than happy to give them the data, why make additional work for themselves?

      The main reason for wanting to control design is time to market, with things like AI but also custom encryption or other acceleration such as codecs being key differentiators.

    3. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: What's the betting...

      I have never used a Chromebook but as its basically a cut down Linux running Chrome i am assuming its probably requires you sign in with a Google account so it already sending all the telemetry data back to Google anyway via the browser, just like Chrome does on Windows if you login with a Google account.

      1. martyn.hare
        Thumb Up

        Or “Enhanced Security” for phishing protection

        Many of their newer Google Chrome security features require analysis across individuals where every individual is uniquely identified (with or without an account) to spot irregularities. Telemetry is a two-way street with benefits and drawbacks depending upon what you want or need.

        If we all continue to aggressively block advertising and marketing features while accepting genuine uses for telemetry (e.g. legitimate analytics and performance analysis) then eventually these companies will give up.

        Apple already has (largely) and it looks like Microsoft are beginning to dial back too. It is only a matter of time until Google finds enough alternative revenue sources and then the online personalised advertising industry is dead… and hopefully never coming back

  3. Duncan Macdonald

    Size and cooling

    Given that this is designed for tablets and laptops (not phones), the chip could easily be designed for a higher peak power draw as the larger format allows for better cooling. A configuration with 4x Cortex X2, 4 Cortex-A510 cores and Mali G710 graphics would be much more powerful than the current Qualcom 888+ and would be usable in a tablet or laptop with a larger heavier cooling system than is possible in a smartphone. (For lighter loads (eg watching YouTube) the A510 cores would easily be powerful enough - the A510 is about as powerful as the A72.)

    If Google sticks to stock ARM cores then the 2023 launch date should be easy to meet.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Size and cooling

      A selling feature of ARM laptops used by Apple is the extended battery life and being cable free definitely is a benefit so maybe they would want to keep the power draw down and save the beef for fixed workstations.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Size and cooling

        Or somewhere in the middle, more power than a mobile chip, but less than a conventional laptop or desktop chip. They will need to tune the performance, so that it is at least as quick as the Intel parts it is replacing, otherwise it is a waste of time - and the current high-end Windows laptops often include 20+ hour battery life.

        Once you get over a single "working day", the need for more battery life diminishes. Very few people need to be on their laptop for 20+ hours a day, so they can recharge overnight.

        The only people who need really long battery life are those that will be travelling off the beaten track with no electricity in the vicinity.

  4. Simon Rockman

    "Following the same path as Apple"

    Except Apple brought in the expertise by buying PA Semi:

  5. Peter D

    If only

    Chrome books weren't complete shite this would be great news.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: If only

      Not quite. Google would still need to upstream all the code needed to make Linux run on this proprietary chip. Until that is done, I don't care how well it runs their walled garden.

    2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: If only

      I have a Chromebook. For consumption it's the bees knees. 10+ hour battery life, hasn't crashed in two years, just works. The only downside is that VLC for ChromeOS is even more shite than VLC for any other platform.

  6. Andre Carneiro

    Ask not for whom the bell tolls....

    Can you hear that, Intel?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Ask not for whom the bell tolls....

      That bell has been ringing for 30 years, but Intel haven't heard it because it is drowned out by all the Ker-Ching!! of their own products.

  7. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Could be sweet!

    Could be sweet! I had a Acer Chromebook 13 with NVidia Tegra K1... quad core ARM and roughly GTX650 GPU. The bad side, Acer sure new how to design it to a spec, the battery wore out, power plug got flakey, case got stress cracks, and touchpad began sagging into the case all withing about 2 weeks of each other (after about 1.5 years of use.)

    The good, 22 hour battery life!! 18-20 in normal use. 10-12 if I ran video encodes on it (full load on all CPU cores.) I booted chrubuntu (stock Ubuntu with a few hardware-specific scripts and such they pulled over from chromeos.) ChromeOS and Ubuntu both ran GREAT on it.

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