After all the promises linked to the Tensor G3 of the future Pixel 8, Google should not offer a major update of its SoC for the Pixel 9, for a fairly obvious reason.
With the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro about to be announced by Google, eyes are inevitably on the future. The firm should offer its fully personalized chip, the Tensor G5 SoC (code name “Laguna) in 2025 for its future Pixel 10, enough to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its range of smartphones as it should be. But what about next year’s Pixel 9s? According to new information, the Tensor G4 of this model should be shy of an update compared to the Tensor G3 of the Pixel 8.
Tensor G4: a transition chip?
Google’s Pixel 8 is expected for the numerous developments of its Tensor G3 chip: AV1 and UFS 4.0, greater energy efficiency and autonomy should be on the program. If the promises are kept, how can we surpass them next year with the Pixel 9? According to Android Authority, which cites an anonymized Google employee, the Tensor G4 of this model should not be so ambitious. The chip is apparently nicknamed “Zuma Pro” internally, clearly marking the iterative nature of this chip compared to the “Zuma” of the Pixel 8.
The reason is quite simple: Google is preparing the ground for its future Tensor G5, which is expected around the corner. This would be its first in-house chip engraved in 3nm by the essential TSMC foundry, which already supplies Apple. But the latter having monopolized nearly 90% of production on this type of chip this year and beyond, added to a significant Google delay in the design of its own SoC, have thwarted the firm’s original plans.
The pattern remains classic for Google and the rest of the smartphone market: real differences in technology or performance generally occur after 2 or 3 years. The Tensor G2 of the current Pixel 7 and 7 Pro was therefore only a simple evolution of the previous SoC, with more notable changes observed on tasks related to the camera or machine learning. So expect the same pattern for the Pixel 9 in 2024.