Google Poaches Top Apple Chip Architect To Make Pixel SoCs

Google poached a top mobile system-on-chip (SoC) architect from Apple and intends to manufacture in-house chipsets for its future Pixel devices, industry sources said on Tuesday. The Alphabet-owned tech giant reportedly hired one Manu Gulati, Apple's micro-architect that's been working for the Cupertino, California-based consumer electronics manufacturer for almost eight years, having originally joined the firm in the summer of 2009. Gulati was hired by Google in recent weeks, industry sources said, with the architect's LinkedIn profile seemingly confirming as much, listing him as being employed by Google since April. Gulati is now the leading SoC Architect at the Mountain View company and will reportedly be joined by a number of other industry experts that Google is planning to hire in the near future. Apart from Gulati's update to his LinkedIn profile, none of the involved parties have commented on the matter in any official capacity as of this writing.

Gulati is personally listed as an inventor of 15 SoC patents held by Apple and is said to have played a large role in the development of the company's custom chips powering numerous iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV lineups. The fact that Apple's devices rely on its own chips allows the firm to join its mobile hardware and software efforts to a degree that wouldn't be possible if it used a third-party SoC supplier like most other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) including Google do. The original Pixel and Pixel XL were powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 and their successors are said to feature the Snapdragon 835, neither of which can be used by other phone makers as efficiently as Apple uses its in-house chips. With Google being well-aware of that fact, the Mountain View, California-based tech giant is now seemingly adamant to follow in Apple's footsteps and start designing its own SoCs in the future.

Even if the Alphabet-owned firm is currently ramping up its efforts to manufacture in-house mobile chips, that technology is unlikely to be commercialized next year in time for the Pixel 3-series devices, with Google still having no other option in the short term but to make the most out of Qualcomm's silicon for the Pixel 2, Pixel XL 2, and its other upcoming handsets. An update on the firm's hardware endeavors is expected to follow in the coming months.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Senior Writer
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]