Tensor G5 Chipset
Google is reportedly planning to ditch its foundry partnership with Samsung and instead partner with TSMC to produce a fully custom Tensor chipset, which it says will launch in two years. Interestingly, the advertising giant is said to be moving to a 3nm process, likely to be the same technology that Qualcomm and MediaTek are adopting soon.
Currently, Google relies not only on Samsung’s manufacturing facilities but also on Samsung’s SoC designs. The company’s Tensor series of chipsets are slightly improved versions of Samsung’s Exynos line. Still, as past benchmarks have shown, these chipsets have yet to bring any significant performance or power efficiency improvements, so a fully custom design is feasible. Apple is the only phone maker to release a fully bespoke chipset design in years, with Qualcomm acquiring Nuvia and soon becoming the second.
According to people familiar with Google’s plans, the Tensor G5 will not only be mass-produced using TSMC’s 3nm process. Still, it will also support Integrated Fan-Out to improve energy efficiency and reduce thickness. What’s odd about the paywall report is that it doesn’t detail which of TSMC’s 3nm processes Google will be switching to. As we all know, Apple has reportedly obtained 90% of the 3nm wafers from its Taiwanese supply chain partners, but it is for the N3B process, which is the first iteration.
Given that the Tensor G5 is said to launch in 2025, we can assume that Google will rely on TSMC’s N3E technology, a slightly improved version of the N3B process that increases yield and reduces production costs. The fully custom design also means that the upcoming Tensor will have its in-house CPU and GPU, giving Google greater control over the hardware and how it will work with the company’s Android platform. The tech giant is doing itself a favor by turning to TSMC, whose foundry is far superior to Samsung’s, and its wafer technology is far ahead of Samsung.
Adopting TSMC’s 3nm process also enables Google to design Tensor chips for different products, not just its Pixel smartphone series, including Chromebooks, tablets, smart speakers, and more. Just like Apple, having a fully custom chipset helps integrate multiple products at the software level, laying a solid foundation for Google to create an Apple-like ecosystem.