It appears that Google was inspired by Apple when it comes to the benefits of custom-designed chips. The company had already confirmed that the upcoming Pixel 6 smartphone will have a Google-designed System on a Chip (SoC), and a new report today says that the company is taking the same approach for future Chromebooks.

Google’s decision is said to have been prompted by Apple’s success with its M1 Macs

Our sister site 9to5Google reports.

After several leaks and our own exclusive reporting, Google announced last month that it would debut its first self-designed smartphone chip in the Pixel 6 series later this year. Apparently, the company’s ambitions don’t stop there. Today, a new report claims that Google is also building chips for future Chromebooks.

Nikkei Asia reports that Google is developing its own chip design for Chromebooks that would replace CPUs provided by Intel, AMD, MediaTek, and other brands. The move was apparently “inspired” by Apple’s success with the M1 Mac.

Google’s new Chromebook chips would apparently be based on Arm designs, much like “Tensor” in mobile phones as well as the MediaTek and Snapdragon chips that are showing up in more Chromebooks. Apple’s M1 also has its roots in Arm. 

Google was particularly inspired by Apple’s success in developing its own key semiconductor components for iPhones as well as last year’s announcement that it would replace Intel CPUs with its own offerings for Mac computers and laptops, two people familiar with Google’s thinking told Nikkei Asia.

It will take the search giant some time to make the transition, with the report stating that the first Chromebooks with Google chips are expected to go on sale sometime in 2023. Chromebooks are available at a wide range of price-points, from around $100 to four-figure sums. You can even turn one into an imitation Mac.

The news will come as a further blow to Intel, which is already losing all of Apple’s Mac business as the company continues its two-year transition to Apple Silicon Macs – and now looks set to lose Chromebook business too.

The next step in Apple’s own transition is expected to be the launch of new M1X MacBook Pro models later this year, in 14-inch and 16-inch sizes.

Historically, Apple’s larger-screened MacBook Pros also offer higher performance than smaller models, but one leaker claims that both models will have identical M1X CPUs. The report does, however, leave open the option of different graphics performance between the 14- and 16-inch versions.

Intel remains convinced that it can catch up, and then overtake, Apple Silicon performance, but Apple chipmaker TSMC announced plans for 2nm chips the very next day.

Photo: Brooke Cagle/Unsplash

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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