Enlarge / Google’s Pixel Visible Core, an SoC designed for picture processing and machine studying.


Google’s latest flagship smartphone, the Pixel 2, is sort of out. The corporate has been speaking an enormous sport concerning the 2’s digital camera and calling it, definitively, “the very best smartphone digital camera.” However Google has been maintaining an enormous secret below wraps: the Pixel 2 has a customized, Google-designed SoC devoted solely to digital camera picture processing. The SoC just isn’t lively but, however Google claims it can make the Pixel 2 course of pictures quicker and extra effectively than ever.

Along with the standard Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, the Pixel 2 is supplied with the “Pixel Visible Core,” an additional, second SoC designed by Google with hardware-accelerated picture processing in thoughts. On the coronary heart of the chip is an eight-core Picture Processing Unit (IPU) able to greater than three trillion operations per second. Utilizing these IPU cores, Google says the corporate’s HDR+ picture processing can run “5x quicker and at lower than 1/10th the vitality” than it at present does on the primary CPU.

The Pixel Visible Core is at present within the Pixel 2, however it would not work but. Google says it is going to be enabled with the launch of the Android eight.1 developer preview. At the moment, the chip will let third-party apps use the Pixel 2’s HDR+ photograph processing, permitting them to provide footage that look simply nearly as good because the native digital camera app. The chip is not only for Google’s present digital camera algorithms, although. Google says the Pixel Visible Core is designed “to deal with essentially the most difficult imaging and machine studying purposes” and that the corporate is “already getting ready the following set of purposes” designed for the .

Having two totally separate SoCs inside a smartphone is uncommon. The Pixel Visible Core has its personal CPU (a single Cortex A53 core to play visitors cop), its personal DDR4 RAM, the eight IPU cores, and a PCIe line, presumably as a bus to the remainder of the system. Ideally, you’d have a single SoC that integrates the IPU proper subsequent to that different co-processor, the GPU. The Pixel 2 is predicated on the Snapdragon 835 SoC, although, and you are not allowed to combine your personal customized silicon with Qualcomm’s design. What Google can do is wrap a minimal SoC round its eight IPU cores after which join that to the primary system SoC. If Google ever got down to compete with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line, an IPU is one thing it might construct immediately into its personal designs. For now, although, it has this self-contained resolution.

We have been listening to about Google’s want to design its personal SoCs for nearly two years now. The unique rumor from The Info (subscription required) nailed this announcement with the information of a particular Google-designed digital camera chip. It additionally mentioned the corporate was taking a look at constructing major software processors and chips designed for AR and VR. If all these are true, we could possibly be wanting on the first of many Google SoCs to come back.

We’re amazed that Google by no means talked about this till now—it had an entire two-hour-long presentation on October four, and we did not hear a peep about this. We won’t wait to see the teardowns of the Pixel 2 and ensure the telephone is not hiding another surprises.


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