As part of its bid to create its own custom processors, Google has hired former Apple chip designer John Bruno, The Information reports. Prior to joining Google, Bruno created and led Apple’s silicon competitive analysis group which was the team that was largely responsible for ensuring the iPhone and iPad processors stayed one step ahead of the competition.
While the details of Bruno’s new role are unclear, he may have been brought on to help Google develop better internal hardware for its Pixel line. Currently, the only custom-built chip that Google’s hardware uses is the Pixel 2‘s Visual Core imaging chip, which is partially responsible for the phone’s high-quality camera. Bruno’s work with Apple lends credence to the idea that he will be developing a custom processor for future Google devices, but he could also be working on more specialized chips.
Regardless of the specifics of Bruno’s work, his hire is proof that Google is doubling down on its commitment to improving the internal hardware of the Pixel line. Aside from the aforementioned imaging chip, the internal hardware in Google’s phones has rarely been anything special. The devices often used the same internal hardware that was found on other Android devices.
One main appeal of owning a Nexus or Pixel device was in the software experience, such as stock Android and the promise of quick software updates from Google. If Google is able to create chips that are faster or more energy-efficient than the competition, then that would go a long way towards swaying customers to purchase their phones instead of, say, Samsung’s.
As for the fruits of Bruno’s labor, it will likely be some time before we actually see what he and the rest of Google’s team have accomplished. It can often take several years to go from concept to usable hardware so it would be something of a surprise to see too much new internal hardware in the next Pixel, though it is possible, depending on how much work Google’s engineers have accomplished.