Google Has a Custom SoC, and It Is Hidden Deep Inside the Pixel 2


Remember the time when we reported that Google could incorporate a custom SoC in the next iteration of the Pixel family thanks to the hiring of Apple’s chip architect but all we got in return was a Snapdragon 835? Well turns out that Google has indeed made a custom chip but it is not going to be handling all the processes similar to Samsung’s Exynos 8895 or Apple’s A11 Bionic. Instead, the custom SoC made by Google for the Pixel 2 will have a singular purpose.

Pixel Visual Core Is Name of the Google Custom SoC and It Is Used for Image Processing on the Pixel 2

Ever wonder why the images on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL look breathtaking? You can thank Google for its Pixel Visual Core, which is the name of the in-house SoC made by the tech giant and it will be handling all the image processing taking place in the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The presence of this SoC allows image processing to be carried out much faster on smartphones, and Google is also planning to open up HDR+ to third-party camera apps.

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If you take a look at the chip, it is dubbed an Image Processing Unit (IPU) and features an 8-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU. Each of these cores has been specifically designed to handle HDR+ functions, resulting in much better performance while using a tenth of the energy. While we all thought that Google’s latest Pixel 2 family would be outfitted with custom hardware handling all of the processes, Google decided that purpose-specific hardware will be the right way to implement this.

According to Google, it will enable Pixel Visual Core as a developer option in its preview of Android Oreo 8.1, before updating the Android Camera API to allow access to HDR+ for third-party camera developers. Unfortunately, this will be limited to the Pixel 2 lineup, meaning regular Android smartphone owners and previous-gen Pixel users will be left out of the equation.

Do you think Google has made the right choice to implement a custom SoC for a specific task rather than make a Snapdragon 835 competitor? Tell us your thoughts down in the comments.