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Google Hires Key Apple Chip Architect To Build Custom Chips For Pixel Phones (variety.com) 52

A recent hire at Google indicates big changes are coming for future versions of the Google's Pixel phone. Manu Gulati, an Apple micro-architect who worked on the company's chip development for nearly eight years, has just joined Google. From a report: Gulati started working at Apple in 2009, and was instrumental to the company's efforts to build custom chips for the iPad, the iPhone and Apple TV. Apple began using its own chips in 2010, starting with the introduction of the iPad in 2010, which was powered by the company's A4 chip. To this day, the company uses custom-designed microchips for each of their devices, which make it possible to optimize processors both for performance and energy consumption. In the industry, these integrated chips for mobile devices are also known as SoCs, or "systems on a chip." In contrast, Google relied on a chip designed and manufactured by Qualcomm when it introduced its first Pixel phones last fall. The same chip is being used by a number of other Android phone manufacturers, including HTC, LG, Lenovo and Asus -- all of which goes to say that these phones all offer very similar performance specs. Qualcomm has become the de facto-manufacturer for higher-end Android phone chips, making it harder for the companies to differentiate their devices from one another.
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Google Hires Key Apple Chip Architect To Build Custom Chips For Pixel Phones

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    If working for the same company for 7 years and a bit sounds like an extraordinary achievement, then I weep for the future.

    • Re: Nearly 8 years (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I've been at 5 places in 10 years of working life. How does one get a decent raise staying in one place if going into management isn't interesting to you? I ask this honestly, not in jest. I would love to work at one place for 40 yrs like my dad but I don't wanna be stuck making 45k at age 60.

      • Re: Nearly 8 years (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Moheeheeko ( 1682914 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2017 @04:15PM (#54611981)
        This, the only way to get a raise that isn't a cost of living adjustment these days is to hop from company to company.
        • This, the only way to get a raise that isn't a cost of living adjustment these days is to hop from company to company.

          That is not a bad thing. Cities with lots of job hopping tend to be more productive and have lower inequality. Ideas spread faster, and people can avoid getting stuck in jobs that don't fit their skills.

          Churn is good.

        • There are some companies that do have an advancement track for non-managers. It's not as common as it once was but it is not necessarily rare. I suspect it may make a comeback given the rapid job changing of younger workers. You especially don't want job hopping by senior engineers, it's far too disruptive.

          I think for younger workers there is this myth of being rich quickly by just finding the right startup and this encourages changing jobs often.

      • Are your retirement accounts (401ks) vested and transportable with each move? If not, then you'll reach 60 years old with little of no retirement income. It used to be that you needed to work a minimum time (7 years ?) for retirement accounts to be vested; not sure what the situation is now. If the major source of the contribution was from an employer, as in my case, holding short term jobs could be a disaster if you can't keep the whole value of your retirement accounts.
    • by ranton ( 36917 )

      If working for the same company for 7 years and a bit sounds like an extraordinary achievement, then I weep for the future.

      Going back to a day when someone works at the same company for 40 years sounds like going back to a day when someone rarely left their home town their whole life. It certainly doesn't sound like a good thing. Cross pollination of ideas and labor market fluidity are good things.

      If leaving your company in under 7 years for better opportunities ever sounds like a volatile career, then I weep for the future.

      • Going back to a day when someone works at the same company for 40 years ...

        You can't go back to something that never existed. A "golden age" of lifetime employment is a myth. Average job tenure today is higher than it was in at almost anytime in the past. Sure, there were some people that worked in a factory their whole life in the 1960s, but that was not common, and many more people were day laborers moving from job to job.

        • by ranton ( 36917 )

          Sure, there were some people that worked in a factory their whole life in the 1960s, but that was not common, and many more people were day laborers moving from job to job.

          This is why just looking at average job tenure doesn't tell the whole story, and is in fact very misleading. Two massive changes on the opposite end of the spectrum caused the average to stay mostly unchanged. On one end there are less people working at one company for 20+ years with a defined benefit retirement plan. On the other end there are less people working as day laborers or other jack of all trade workers who move from job to job perhaps many times in the same year.

          None of that changes the fact the

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Hmm, let's see

      - No long term benefits anywhere
      - No advancement above ~3% cost of living increase
      - Increasing politics / stratification

      WHY do PEOPLE leave COMPANIES???

      Science just doesn't know

  • by nickmalthus ( 972450 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2017 @04:07PM (#54611925)

    I doubt the mainstream market consumers would want to buy a Pixel phone when it only will be supported up to two years after it's initial launch. [deccanchronicle.com] Google is taking planned obsolescence to a new level! Buy a premium pixel phone on a two year payment plan and as soon as it is paid off it is obsolete and one will need to start looking to purchase a new one with little hope of reselling their current phone for any meaningful value.

    Google is a fickled company and all of their services and products have short abrupt lifespans.

    • I doubt the mainstream market consumers would want to buy a Pixel phone when it only will be supported up to two years after it's initial launch. [deccanchronicle.com] Google is taking planned obsolescence to a new level! Buy a premium pixel phone on a two year payment plan and as soon as it is paid off it is obsolete and one will need to start looking to purchase a new one with little hope of reselling their current phone for any meaningful value.

      That's a bit misleading when the page you linked to shows th

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Cmdln Daco ( 1183119 )

        Apple makes sure to push that last update that nerfs your device at the point in time that they feel it's time for you to buy another iGadget.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          How is this modded +3 insightful? To me it looks like flamebait.

          Nowhere in his post does he tell the truth. It's all lies and deceptions. I have an iPhone 4s that just stopped receiving updates. That's a 6 year old fucking phone.

          So fuck off with that FUD.

      • Google's short support is also amusing to me since they love to snipe at Microsoft about security issues, yet the security situation on Android is garbage.

    • Two years is an eternity when you consider most Android phones never get updates (other than the flagship models).

      • This is true for first-party updates, but I'm still getting regular updates on my Moto G (released November 2013) from LineageOS (thanks to the Slashdot AC who pointed me to the process for installing it).
    • I doubt the mainstream market consumers would want to buy a Pixel phone when it only will be supported up to two years after it's initial launch. [deccanchronicle.com]

      Three years. However, I'd like to see you point me to the support commitment made by any other OEM. Any at all. As far as I can tell, Google is the only one that even bothers to tell you what you can expect. Not even Apple makes any commitments, though in practice they do generally give you four or five years, rather than three. But if they were to decide not to, you have no recourse.

  • Has the performance of Apple's chips outpaced Qualcomm's so much that Google will see any major improvement from making their own custom?

    • Even if it is the case, can Google really beat Qualcom and what makes you think Qualcom couldn't make faster chips if manufacturers were willing to pay for it?

    • Everyone makes customer chips with ARMs, and with other processors. These are not PCs where you buy off the shelf parts and combine 20 different chips into what is normally a single chip on an embedded system. Off the shelf SOCs are too generic much of the time and they can be overpriced if you have to go up the tier to get the components you need. So companies instead present their wishlist recipes and get that made into an ASIC, and they'll do this even if the speed doesn't get faster because they'll re

    • It's been like this for years. Qualcomm chips have 8 cores and run at 2GHz or some ridiculous speeds but for real performance Apple chips beat them any day. Apple has lots of custom silicon and their OS uses it

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Has the performance of Apple's chips outpaced Qualcomm's so much that Google will see any major improvement from making their own custom?

      According to Geekbench benchmarks, yes - at least in single core because Apple doesn't make an 8-core chip. A single A10 used in the iPhone 7 Plus scores around 3300, while the latest Qualcomm scores... 1900. An Intel i7-6600 scores 4000. That puts Apple's chip somewhere around a i5 from 3-4 generations ago

      Multicore Qualcomm wins - 8 cores beats 2 cores any day.

      • I develop fairly heavyweight processing stuff that ultimately has to run on phones. As far as I can tell, Geekbench's numbers are utter tosh. A desktop i7 vastly outpaces all the mobile chips for more or less all the stuff I write. My experience echoes that of colleagues and friends who do similar things.

  • Google doesn't have the numbers to justify custom chips. Samsung does. Apple does. Huawei seem to have it. But Google I highly doubt it.

  • Google should have hired Apple's chief marketing or design officer, not any chief [technical role] officer. Apple products aren't wildly bought because of superior performance, but because of amazing branding and design. In many respects, Android is more capable than Apple. Another wasted effort by Google.

After Goliath's defeat, giants ceased to command respect. - Freeman Dyson

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