Long-standing rumors that the Google Pixel 6 would be powered by the Snapdragon 775 or 780G could be completely inaccurate. Instead, Google will reportedly follow in Apple's and Samsung's footsteps and develop its own CPU for its fall 2021 phone lineup.
9to5Google reports that the Pixel 6 – and presumably the Pixel 6 XL as well – will run off of the GS101 Whitechapel chip. Whitechapel is the codename for Google's in-house production of its own system-on-a-chip (SoC).
We also know that the Whitechapel SoCs are being co-developed by Samsung, which has SoC experience making its own Exynos chips. Presumably, these Whitechapel chips are solely for Google's phones; but theoretically, some version of this SoC could also end up in the Samsung Galaxy S22 lineup, too.
After the Pixel 5 sacrificed performance speed for price with the underpowered Snapdragon 765G, we can only hope that the GS101 Whitechapel CPU will give the Pixel 6 a more flagship-like performance boost.
However, using in-house chips doesn't guarantee better speeds. Samsung's Exynos chips are often used for its mid-range phones like the underpowered Galaxy A51, and flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S21 sold outside the US pack Exynos chips - and are a bit slower than their Snapdragon-running counterparts. We don't have any information as of yet on what kind of benchmarks that Google's GS101 will hit.
We've also heard rumors of the Pixel Fold, a foldable phone that Google's leaked patents indicate could have three folding panels and three screens. Reports indicate it will also arrive in 2021; if 9to5Google's sources are to be believed, all of Google's fall 2021 phones will have Whitechapel chips, including the Fold.
What Whitechapel means for the Pixel 6
We can't fully speculate on how the Pixel 6 will perform, or how similar the GS101 will be to Samsung's Exynos chips, until we get more information. We're optimistic, though, that in-house manufacturing will let Google power up its new phone while still offering a cheaper flagship than Apple's and Samsung's.
Google will be able to optimize Android 12 to work even more smoothly on its own hardware, instead of having to adapt Qualcomm's to work for any new features. And as co-developer to the tech, Samsung will have inside access when developing its One UI 4.0 Android software and Exynos hardware.
It's less clear how this will affect other Android phone makers like OnePlus and Nokia, who will presumably continue to use Snapdragon hardware for their new phones.
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