What is Google Tensor and which devices does it power?

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(Pocket-lint) - Google precocious confirmed the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, and it focused connected the caller strategy connected a spot (SoC) wrong the upcoming phones. Called the Tensor SoC, it's named aft the Tensor Processing Units (TPU) that Google uses successful its information centers. Here's what you request to cognize astir Tensor.

What is Google Tensor?

Tensor is Google's in-house SoC. It's not a azygous processor. Previously, Google relied connected Qualcomm processors, arsenic bash astir different Android devices successful the US. Globally, however, determination is much variation, with Samsung, MediaTek, and Huawei each producing chips for Android phones.

Keep successful caput Apple has its ain in-house silicon, the A-Series enactment of chips. That doesn't mean Tensor and Apple’s A-Series are equivalent - Tensor is simply a strategy connected a spot utilizing a premix of components that Google has either designed oregon licensed. That's possibly wherefore Google is spending truthful overmuch clip hammering location Tensor's artificial quality and instrumentality learning advantages, alternatively than sermon specifics astir CPU, GPU, and RAM.

Those components interaction however accelerated a telephone seems, however agelong the artillery lasts, cellular connectivity, etc. There are besides co-processors that grip dedicated tasks specified arsenic representation processing oregon security. Google does person acquisition successful those areas: the Pixel Visual Core and Titan M chip, respectively, some person appeared successful erstwhile phones. And don't hide Google has besides been making Tensor Processing Units for its servers for years.

But Google Tensor marks the archetypal clip Google has introduced a mobile TPU specifically for a phone.

Google is already providing property demos of what the caller TPU wrong Tensor tin bash successful the Pixel 6. For instance, it uses instrumentality learning to amended photos. In 1 demo, Google reportedly showed a blurry photograph of a kid, but aft moving done Tensor’s TPU, the toddler's look appeared sharper. In different demo, Pixel’s on-device auto-caption diagnostic rapidly and accurately translated connection successful a playing video from French to English successful existent time.

In summation to the TPU, the Pixel 6 packs a caller mentation of Google’s Titan M information chip. In the blog station announcing the Pixel 6, Google claimed, “with Tensor’s caller information halfway and Titan M2, Pixel 6 volition person the astir layers of hardware information successful immoderate phone".

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Why is Google doing this now?

It's been 5 years since Google started making Pixel phones, yet it's inactive often asked whether it's superior astir hardware. Google said it began enactment connected Tensor silicon 4 years agone (around the clip it announced it wanted to bargain HTC’s telephone hardware division). We suspect, with each of Google's main competitors gaining acquisition making their ain in-house silicon, Google wanted to beryllium the Pixel enactment isn't conscionable a hobby task for it.

But Google has besides talked a batch astir however computing limitations inspired it to marque Tensor. "We acceptable astir gathering a exertion level built for mobile that enabled america to bring our astir innovative AI and instrumentality learning (ML) to our Pixel users," Google said successful a blog post announcing Pixel 6. "We acceptable retired to marque our ain System connected a Chip. . . Tensor was built for however radical usage their phones contiguous and however radical volition usage them successful the future".

The institution explained that, increasingly, much smartphone features are powered by AI and ML. Tensor volition not lone unlock computing resources for those tasks, but it tin besides assistance supply new, circumstantial experiences for Pixel users, whether it's a revamped camera strategy oregon code recognition.

The item of Tensor is that it tin process Google’s astir almighty AI and ML models straight connected #Pixel6.

You’ll spot a transformed acquisition for the camera, code designation and galore different Pixel 6 features.

(6/13)

— Made By Google (@madebygoogle) August 2, 2021

Who is making Google Tensor?

Tensor appears to beryllium Google-designed. But it's not yet known if Google itself is making each the interior components - specified arsenic the CPU, GPU, and 5G modem - oregon if it's licensing them from others. So far, Google has said it's liable for the mobile TPU for AI operations and the Titan M2 spot for security. 

What are Google Tensor's benchmarks?

Google not lone hasn't shared who designed Tensor's CPU and GPU, but it's besides not sharing benchmarks connected performance. Those details whitethorn travel later.

So excited to stock our caller customized Google Tensor chip, which has been 4 yrs successful the making (for scale)! Tensor builds disconnected of our 2 decades of computing acquisition and it’s our biggest innovation successful Pixel to date. Will beryllium connected Pixel 6 + Pixel 6 Pro successful fall. https://t.co/N95X6gFxLf pic.twitter.com/wHiEJRHJwy

— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) August 2, 2021

Which devices connection Google Tensor?

This autumn, apt successful October, Google volition merchandise 2 caller Pixel phones: Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. They'll beryllium premium-priced phones powered by Tensor. They'll besides beryllium the archetypal devices to motorboat with Google's in-house SoC. We're assuming much Google devices volition get Tensor, oregon versions of it, down the line.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published connected 2 August 2021.

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