Challenging Apple and Samsung, Google’s mobile phone finally offers a “big killer”

One difference and two widths, Google and Qualcomm SoC officially say goodbye.

Lei Feng.com press: Google finally shines its sword. This sword is a smartphone SoC self-developed chip that Google finally launched after years of research and development. Its official name is Google Tensor – on August 2, Google officially announced this SoC chip. Not only that, but Google also announced that the chip will be powered by the new generation of flagship phones Google expects to release this fall, the Pxiel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Without a doubt, this is a milestone for Google in its hardware business. In this regard, foreign media reporter Dieter Bohn conducted an in-depth report, and Lei Feng.com compiled the original meaning.

On August 2, Google officially announced the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

Interestingly, Google didn’t reveal more details about the two phones, instead focusing on their built-in SoC chips – named after the TPU (Tensor Processing Unit) Google uses in its data centers. It’s called Tensor SoC.

This means that, following giants such as Apple, Samsung, and Huawei, Google has finally joined the array of self-developed SoCs for smartphones.

According to Google, Tensor is a “Google self-developed” SoC, but it is unclear which modules are designed and developed by Google itself, and which are licensed from other companies.

But what is certain is that the two processor modules built into Tensor are from Google: a mobile version of the TPU for AI processing and the mobile security chip Titan M2 – in addition, the SoC chip’s built-in CPU, GPU and 5G modem The designer remains a mystery.

But in any case, Tensor SoC will be a major node for Google to build its flagship smartphone business.

1. Build a competitive flagship phone for the first time

Aside from the Tensor SoC, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones themselves are not mysterious – combined with Google’s past performance in the smartphone business, Google’s dedication to these two phones, and the existence of the Tensor SoC itself, you can get One conclusion: Google is finally, at a substantial level, trying to build a competitive flagship phone.

The official launch of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will be this fall — and if the final version isn’t different from what Google has already announced, they’ll be the first Pixel phones that don’t feel shoddy in terms of quality.

It’s worth mentioning that Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of hardware, also admitted: “We knew we didn’t have what it took to build a flagship phone in the past, and this is the first time we feel like we really have it.”

Judging from the current situation, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have a glass “sandwich” appearance, which is quite textured and seems to be in the same grade as the products offered by Samsung, Huawei and Apple.

“It’s fair to say that in the last few years we’ve never been to the flagship level, but now it’s going to be different,” said Rick Osterloh. He also admitted that “the Pixel 6 series will definitely be a premium product,” which means the Pixel 6 series will likely be priced above $1,000.

For now, though, Google has only shared a handful of key specs.

For example, the Pixel 6 Pro will feature a 6.7-inch QHD+ Display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The edges of this screen are slightly curved, blending in with the glossy polished aluminum rails on the sides.

In terms of cameras, the Pixel 6 Pro has three cameras on the back: a new wide-angle main sensor, an ultra-wide-angle lens, and a 4x optical zoom folded long lens; Google has not claimed that the main wide-angle sensor absorbs 150% more light than Share more specs about the camera.

The Pixel 6, on the other hand, has a 6.4-inch FHD+ screen with a 90Hz refresh rate; it has a very flat screen with matte rails and one less camera than the Pro version.

It is worth mentioning that although the memory and colors of the two phones will be different, both will be equipped with Google’s self-developed Tensor SoC, Titan M2 security chip and under-screen fingerprint sensor.

Interestingly, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro have a giant “Camera Bar” on the back that spans the entire left and right of the phone, and a fairly flat metal rail that protects the glass on the bar’s surface from scratches. In the words of Rick Osterloh — there are only so many ways to protect a large phone’s camera from bumps, and Google’s solution is to embrace and reinforce that.

Of course, more details about the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro may not be known until after October.

2. Self-developed Tensor SoC to promote the development of AI and ML

It’s not hard to understand why Google chose to preview the Pixel 6 series in advance. After all, the biggest innovation of the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro is the use of Google’s self-developed Tensor SoC — they are also the first smartphones to use Google’s self-developed SoC chip.

The SoC chip is the core of the smartphone hardware.

The competition for Android mobile phone processors has always been fierce. The processors of Android devices in the U.S. market are almost monopolized by Qualcomm. Looking around the world, Samsung and Huawei are designing SoC processors for their own Android smartphones, and thus stand firm in the high-end market. market position. At the same time, the capabilities of Android mobile phone processors are also considered to be far behind Apple’s self-developed A-series processors.

Given the current competitive landscape for mobile phone processors, it’s an interesting question whether Google could make more competitive chips to differentiate its smartphone offerings; at this point, it’s unclear whether Tensor is capable of competing with Apple’s A-series chip competition.

It should be noted that as a SoC, Tensor contains modules designed by Google itself, as well as other licensed components.

There have been rumors that Samsung may provide some standard modules for the Tensor SoC, but this rumor has not been confirmed by Google. Google hasn’t said which company is supplying the CPU and GPU for its Tensor, nor is their performance benchmarks known — but Osterloh says the Tensor SoC will lead the market.

“The Tensor SoC’s standard blocks will be very competitive, especially its AI components, which will be completely different,” added Osterloh. It can also be found from the latest publicity that Google is trying to shift the selling point of mobile phones from CPU frequency to AI and ML capabilities – of course, Google does have a big advantage in these areas.

Generally, the core specification of a mobile phone processor consists of three parts: CPU, GPU and RAM. These parts have the biggest impact on the day-to-day experience of users, including the speed of the phone, the battery life, the connection status of the cellular network, and so on.

In addition, there are usually co-processors to handle tasks that the CPU cannot perform or complete, such as image processing chips or security chips. It is worth mentioning that Google itself has already developed some coprocessors, such as the Titan M chip and Pixel Visual Core (renamed Pixel Neural Core in Pixel 4) in Pixel 3.

But the Tensor SoC is nothing like the Pixel Visual Core.

“It’s definitely not the same as a coprocessor,” Osterloh explained, “As with any SoC, we do use a lot of licensing technology, but this is our design, specifically designed to drive our ML and AI technology forward. Google emphasized that the new chip in Tensor is an important component that enables the new Pixel phone to achieve more functions, which is different from the Neural Core in Apple’s A-series processors.

“The computers of the future are becoming more heterogeneous,” Osterloh argues, and for years, Moore’s Law approaching its limits meant computers and phones needed to be built differently. He also emphasized that “Tensor SoCs will be designed with more specialized sub-modules to be able to operate in specific ways. This is because raw meter capabilities run out of space and grow more slowly than they can be processed with AI.”

The most important of these chip modules is the mobile version of the TPU.

So far, Google’s self-designed server TPU has been in use for more than 5 years to perform AI and ML tasks more efficiently; after that, Google also designed the Edge TPU for inference tasks to provide local services for enterprises.

This time, with the Tensor SoC and the Pixel 6 series, Google is putting a TPU into a phone for the first time.

3. Relying on TPU to regain the image advantage, the real-time transcription ability is enhanced

So, what can the mobile TPU inside Tensor achieve? According to a handful of demos from Google, the first two features are related to photography — which is not surprising.

In fact, using ML (machine learning) algorithms to take better photos has historically been an advantage for Pixel phones; however, this advantage has stagnated in recent years, as many competitors have caught up and surpassed the Pixel, and also in video. far more than that.

Clearly, this time Google wants to take back the crown and sees the mobile TPU as the way to do it.

In the first demo, Google showed a photo of a child indoors waving at the phone’s camera, but with all AI and ML features disabled, the child’s face and hands were blurred due to the poor lighting — but, After turning on the AI ​​and ML functions, the child’s facial features became clear after processing by the mobile TPU in Tensor.

Of course, this isn’t a deepfake, but the process by which the Pixel 6 will take a bunch of photos from the main sensor and combine them into a single HDR image. Not only that, but the Pixel 6 also features Ultra Wide Motion Capture, which captures details faster and more clearly, and then uses the mobile TPU to recognize a face and combine it with the Ultra Wide image and the rest.

However, such impressive image processing capabilities did not dispel the outside world’s doubts about the Pixel’s video capabilities, because the video capabilities of the Pixel series have not performed well in the past – but soon, the doubts were dispelled.

In the second demo given by Google, Google compared videos shot by three mobile phones, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 5 and iPhone 12 Pro Max, of the field by the lake at sunset – a challenging scene, you can test the HDR function of the mobile phone.

As a result of testing, the sun and grass in the Pixel 5’s video are too bright, not the expected golden hue; meanwhile, the video captured by the iPhone 12 Pro Max is closer to what we see in real life, but some shadows areas are brightened—for comparison, the video captured by the Pixal 6 Pro provides realistic shadows while maintaining the natural colors that users expect to see in this type of scene.

The main reason for the Pixel 6’s better video capabilities, Osterloh said, is that the use of the mobile TPU to align with the entire image processing standard allows Google’s HDRNet to be applied to still images to be applied to every frame in the video. It’s important to note that this video was shot at 4K resolution and 30fps.

This is enough to let people see the powerful processing power of the mobile TPU.

In addition to images and videos, Google’s other demos are related to translating speech to text and are more subtle, such as Tensor doing the processing locally without the need for an internet connection. Among them, the subtitles feature that comes with Pixel devices seems to be faster and more accurate—it even translates the French into English in real-time in the video being played.

“We are now able to run the data center model on our equipment,” Osterloh said.

Not only that, but Osterloh also demonstrated real-time speech-to-text capabilities. That said, generating text from speech is almost real-time, and he can use the keyboard to edit relevant words while speaking—both input methods are active at the same time.

In addition to TPU, the Pixel 6 series will also be equipped with a new generation of Google Titan M security chip. In the official discourse of the Pixel 6 series, Google even stated that “with Tensor’s new security core Titan M2, the Pixel 6 will have the most hardware security layer of any phone” – here refers to the independent hardware security subsystem and the number of components.

In addition, Osterloh said that owning a Pixel 6 is like owning an “always-on computer” that can handle low-level, low-power processes like ambient display.

It’s worth mentioning that the Pixel 6’s battery life target is still just “all day.”

4. Will the blessing of Tensor help the rise of Pixel phones?

The blessing of Tensor is certainly a big selling point of the Pixel 6 series, but the question is: will the market pay for it?

From the current situation, with the blessing of Tensor SoC, Google’s AI and ML may make searches more accurate and photos sharper, but it is not enough to improve all the experience of the phone. Osterloh emphasized that as the mobile TPU provides more AI computing power, other chips can be released for higher performance.

Even so, it’s hard to make AI a selling point for a Pixel phone.

It’s important to note that since the launch of the Google Pixel series, its market share in the US has been in the very low single digits, which is something Google needs to address.

But Osterloh thinks that will change with the Google Pixel 6 series. He said Google is ready to start attacking wherever it has the potential to grab market share — whether it’s from Apple or Samsung.

“The product is really Google’s own phone now,” Osterloh said, “so we’re going to invest a lot in marketing, and we want to grow.”

Interestingly, on last week’s earnings call, Alphabet & Google CFO Ruth Porat also cautioned investors about higher-than-usual marketing costs: “Furthermore, we expect sales and marketing expenses to be a bigger part of the second half of the year. , in part to support product launches over the holidays.”

Looking at it now, the products mentioned here may be the Pixel 6 series.

So far, it has been 5 years since Google officially launched the Pixel series, and every year of Pixel products has to make people wonder: Is Google really taking hardware seriously? Or, is it going to be a real competitor and win a slice of the market, or is it just a realignment of the old Nexus strategy?

Now, with the announcement of Tensor SoC, this question may have a new answer.

Osterloh said work on the new Tensor chip began four years ago; about four years ago, Google announced its acquisition of HTC’s handset hardware division. Now, that’s the year Google took the Pixel line seriously.

It’s only today, though, that we’re starting to see the fruits of that effort. So, will the Pixel 6 gain more market share? I am afraid it is far from being able to answer these questions.

And let the bullet fly for a while.

One difference and two widths, Google and Qualcomm SoC officially say goodbye.

Lei Feng.com press: Google finally shines its sword. This sword is a smartphone SoC self-developed chip that Google finally launched after years of research and development. Its official name is Google Tensor – on August 2, Google officially announced this SoC chip. Not only that, but Google also announced that the chip will be powered by the new generation of flagship phones Google expects to release this fall, the Pxiel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Without a doubt, this is a milestone for Google in its hardware business. In this regard, foreign media reporter Dieter Bohn conducted an in-depth report, and Lei Feng.com compiled the original meaning.

On August 2, Google officially announced the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

Interestingly, Google didn’t reveal more details about the two phones, instead focusing on their built-in SoC chips – named after the TPU (Tensor Processing Unit) Google uses in its data centers. It’s called Tensor SoC.

This means that, following giants such as Apple, Samsung, and Huawei, Google has finally joined the array of self-developed SoCs for smartphones.

According to Google, Tensor is a “Google self-developed” SoC, but it is unclear which modules are designed and developed by Google itself, and which are licensed from other companies.

But what is certain is that the two processor modules built into Tensor are from Google: a mobile version of the TPU for AI processing and the mobile security chip Titan M2 – in addition, the SoC chip’s built-in CPU, GPU and 5G modem The designer remains a mystery.

But in any case, Tensor SoC will be a major node for Google to build its flagship smartphone business.

1. Build a competitive flagship phone for the first time

Aside from the Tensor SoC, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones themselves are not mysterious – combined with Google’s past performance in the smartphone business, Google’s dedication to these two phones, and the existence of the Tensor SoC itself, you can get One conclusion: Google is finally, at a substantial level, trying to build a competitive flagship phone.

The official launch of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will be this fall — and if the final version isn’t different from what Google has already announced, they’ll be the first Pixel phones that don’t feel shoddy in terms of quality.

It’s worth mentioning that Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of hardware, also admitted: “We knew we didn’t have what it took to build a flagship phone in the past, and this is the first time we feel like we really have it.”

Judging from the current situation, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have a glass “sandwich” appearance, which is quite textured and seems to be in the same grade as the products offered by Samsung, Huawei and Apple.

“It’s fair to say that in the last few years we’ve never been to the flagship level, but now it’s going to be different,” said Rick Osterloh. He also admitted that “the Pixel 6 series will definitely be a premium product,” which means the Pixel 6 series will likely be priced above $1,000.

For now, though, Google has only shared a handful of key specs.

For example, the Pixel 6 Pro will feature a 6.7-inch QHD+ Display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The edges of this screen are slightly curved, blending in with the glossy polished aluminum rails on the sides.

In terms of cameras, the Pixel 6 Pro has three cameras on the back: a new wide-angle main sensor, an ultra-wide-angle lens, and a 4x optical zoom folded long lens; Google has not claimed that the main wide-angle sensor absorbs 150% more light than Share more specs about the camera.

The Pixel 6, on the other hand, has a 6.4-inch FHD+ screen with a 90Hz refresh rate; it has a very flat screen with matte rails and one less camera than the Pro version.

It is worth mentioning that although the memory and colors of the two phones will be different, both will be equipped with Google’s self-developed Tensor SoC, Titan M2 security chip and under-screen fingerprint sensor.

Interestingly, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro have a giant “Camera Bar” on the back that spans the entire left and right of the phone, and a fairly flat metal rail that protects the glass on the bar’s surface from scratches. In the words of Rick Osterloh — there are only so many ways to protect a large phone’s camera from bumps, and Google’s solution is to embrace and reinforce that.

Of course, more details about the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro may not be known until after October.

2. Self-developed Tensor SoC to promote the development of AI and ML

It’s not hard to understand why Google chose to preview the Pixel 6 series in advance. After all, the biggest innovation of the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro is the use of Google’s self-developed Tensor SoC — they are also the first smartphones to use Google’s self-developed SoC chip.

The SoC chip is the core of the smartphone hardware.

The competition for Android mobile phone processors has always been fierce. The processors of Android devices in the U.S. market are almost monopolized by Qualcomm. Looking around the world, Samsung and Huawei are designing SoC processors for their own Android smartphones, and thus stand firm in the high-end market. market position. At the same time, the capabilities of Android mobile phone processors are also considered to be far behind Apple’s self-developed A-series processors.

Given the current competitive landscape for mobile phone processors, it’s an interesting question whether Google could make more competitive chips to differentiate its smartphone offerings; at this point, it’s unclear whether Tensor is capable of competing with Apple’s A-series chip competition.

It should be noted that as a SoC, Tensor contains modules designed by Google itself, as well as other licensed components.

There have been rumors that Samsung may provide some standard modules for the Tensor SoC, but this rumor has not been confirmed by Google. Google hasn’t said which company is supplying the CPU and GPU for its Tensor, nor is their performance benchmarks known — but Osterloh says the Tensor SoC will lead the market.

“The Tensor SoC’s standard blocks will be very competitive, especially its AI components, which will be completely different,” added Osterloh. It can also be found from the latest publicity that Google is trying to shift the selling point of mobile phones from CPU frequency to AI and ML capabilities – of course, Google does have a big advantage in these areas.

Generally, the core specification of a mobile phone processor consists of three parts: CPU, GPU and RAM. These parts have the biggest impact on the day-to-day experience of users, including the speed of the phone, the battery life, the connection status of the cellular network, and so on.

In addition, there are usually co-processors to handle tasks that the CPU cannot perform or complete, such as image processing chips or security chips. It is worth mentioning that Google itself has already developed some coprocessors, such as the Titan M chip and Pixel Visual Core (renamed Pixel Neural Core in Pixel 4) in Pixel 3.

But the Tensor SoC is nothing like the Pixel Visual Core.

“It’s definitely not the same as a coprocessor,” Osterloh explained, “As with any SoC, we do use a lot of licensing technology, but this is our design, specifically designed to drive our ML and AI technology forward. Google emphasized that the new chip in Tensor is an important component that enables the new Pixel phone to achieve more functions, which is different from the Neural Core in Apple’s A-series processors.

“The computers of the future are becoming more heterogeneous,” Osterloh argues, and for years, Moore’s Law approaching its limits meant computers and phones needed to be built differently. He also emphasized that “Tensor SoCs will be designed with more specialized sub-modules to be able to operate in specific ways. This is because raw meter capabilities run out of space and grow more slowly than they can be processed with AI.”

The most important of these chip modules is the mobile version of the TPU.

So far, Google’s self-designed server TPU has been in use for more than 5 years to perform AI and ML tasks more efficiently; after that, Google also designed the Edge TPU for inference tasks to provide local services for enterprises.

This time, with the Tensor SoC and the Pixel 6 series, Google is putting a TPU into a phone for the first time.

3. Relying on TPU to regain the image advantage, the real-time transcription ability is enhanced

So, what can the mobile TPU inside Tensor achieve? According to a handful of demos from Google, the first two features are related to photography — which is not surprising.

In fact, using ML (machine learning) algorithms to take better photos has historically been an advantage for Pixel phones; however, this advantage has stagnated in recent years, as many competitors have caught up and surpassed the Pixel, and also in video. far more than that.

Clearly, this time Google wants to take back the crown and sees the mobile TPU as the way to do it.

In the first demo, Google showed a photo of a child indoors waving at the phone’s camera, but with all AI and ML features disabled, the child’s face and hands were blurred due to the poor lighting — but, After turning on the AI ​​and ML functions, the child’s facial features became clear after processing by the mobile TPU in Tensor.

Of course, this isn’t a deepfake, but the process by which the Pixel 6 will take a bunch of photos from the main sensor and combine them into a single HDR image. Not only that, but the Pixel 6 also features Ultra Wide Motion Capture, which captures details faster and more clearly, and then uses the mobile TPU to recognize a face and combine it with the Ultra Wide image and the rest.

However, such impressive image processing capabilities did not dispel the outside world’s doubts about the Pixel’s video capabilities, because the video capabilities of the Pixel series have not performed well in the past – but soon, the doubts were dispelled.

In the second demo given by Google, Google compared videos shot by three mobile phones, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 5 and iPhone 12 Pro Max, of the field by the lake at sunset – a challenging scene, you can test the HDR function of the mobile phone.

As a result of testing, the sun and grass in the Pixel 5’s video are too bright, not the expected golden hue; meanwhile, the video captured by the iPhone 12 Pro Max is closer to what we see in real life, but some shadows areas are brightened—for comparison, the video captured by the Pixal 6 Pro provides realistic shadows while maintaining the natural colors that users expect to see in this type of scene.

The main reason for the Pixel 6’s better video capabilities, Osterloh said, is that the use of the mobile TPU to align with the entire image processing standard allows Google’s HDRNet to be applied to still images to be applied to every frame in the video. It’s important to note that this video was shot at 4K resolution and 30fps.

This is enough to let people see the powerful processing power of the mobile TPU.

In addition to images and videos, Google’s other demos are related to translating speech to text and are more subtle, such as Tensor doing the processing locally without the need for an internet connection. Among them, the subtitles feature that comes with Pixel devices seems to be faster and more accurate—it even translates the French into English in real-time in the video being played.

“We are now able to run the data center model on our equipment,” Osterloh said.

Not only that, but Osterloh also demonstrated real-time speech-to-text capabilities. That said, generating text from speech is almost real-time, and he can use the keyboard to edit relevant words while speaking—both input methods are active at the same time.

In addition to TPU, the Pixel 6 series will also be equipped with a new generation of Google Titan M security chip. In the official discourse of the Pixel 6 series, Google even stated that “with Tensor’s new security core Titan M2, the Pixel 6 will have the most hardware security layer of any phone” – here refers to the independent hardware security subsystem and the number of components.

In addition, Osterloh said that owning a Pixel 6 is like owning an “always-on computer” that can handle low-level, low-power processes like ambient display.

It’s worth mentioning that the Pixel 6’s battery life target is still just “all day.”

4. Will the blessing of Tensor help the rise of Pixel phones?

The blessing of Tensor is certainly a big selling point of the Pixel 6 series, but the question is: will the market pay for it?

From the current situation, with the blessing of Tensor SoC, Google’s AI and ML may make searches more accurate and photos sharper, but it is not enough to improve all the experience of the phone. Osterloh emphasized that as the mobile TPU provides more AI computing power, other chips can be released for higher performance.

Even so, it’s hard to make AI a selling point for a Pixel phone.

It’s important to note that since the launch of the Google Pixel series, its market share in the US has been in the very low single digits, which is something Google needs to address.

But Osterloh thinks that will change with the Google Pixel 6 series. He said Google is ready to start attacking wherever it has the potential to grab market share — whether it’s from Apple or Samsung.

“The product is really Google’s own phone now,” Osterloh said, “so we’re going to invest a lot in marketing, and we want to grow.”

Interestingly, on last week’s earnings call, Alphabet & Google CFO Ruth Porat also cautioned investors about higher-than-usual marketing costs: “Furthermore, we expect sales and marketing expenses to be a bigger part of the second half of the year. , in part to support product launches over the holidays.”

Looking at it now, the products mentioned here may be the Pixel 6 series.

So far, it has been 5 years since Google officially launched the Pixel series, and every year of Pixel products has to make people wonder: Is Google really taking hardware seriously? Or, is it going to be a real competitor and win a slice of the market, or is it just a realignment of the old Nexus strategy?

Now, with the announcement of Tensor SoC, this question may have a new answer.

Osterloh said work on the new Tensor chip began four years ago; about four years ago, Google announced its acquisition of HTC’s handset hardware division. Now, that’s the year Google took the Pixel line seriously.

It’s only today, though, that we’re starting to see the fruits of that effort. So, will the Pixel 6 gain more market share? I am afraid it is far from being able to answer these questions.

And let the bullet fly for a while.

The Links:   FP10R12W1T4 LQ057Q3DC03

Author: Yoyokuo