New Google hire points to custom chips in next Pixel

The company reportedly poached a key engineer from Apple in an effort to build its own chips.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva

Google may use custom chips in future versions of the Pixel. 

Josh Miller

Could Google build its own chips for future versions of its flagship Pixel phone?

That's the implication behind a key new hire for the search giant -- an engineer named Manu Gulati who worked at Apple to reportedly build custom chips for the iPhone , iPad and Apple TV , according to a report Tuesday by Variety.  

Google declined to comment, but Gulati listed the role Lead SOC -- or system on a chip -- Architect, on his LinkedIn profile. Google also has several other SOC job postings on its careers website.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The move might sound technical and wonky, but it has big implications for Google's devices. Building its own chips would give Google tighter control over its hardware. It would also be able to better optimize its processors to save energy.

The current version of the Pixel phone, which Google announced in October, uses a processor made by Qualcomm.