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Google’s custom Chromebook CPUs could come as soon as 2023

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Google is eyeing more custom chips

The Lenovo Flex 5 seen from the back, open, angled to the left. Photography by Monica Chin / The Verge

Google’s custom chips could expand past the Pixel 6 to Chromebook laptops and tablets as early as 2023, according to a new report from Nikkei Asia on the company’s expanding emphasis on designing its own processors.

The company is already preparing to release its first major custom chip this fall, with the Pixel 6’s upcoming Tensor SoC. The report also lines up with rumors from 2020 that Google was planning in-house Chromebook chips after it debuted the concept on Pixel phones — something we now know is happening in a few weeks.

But the Nikkei Asia report does note a few additional details, including the aforementioned 2023 timing; a confirmation that, like the Tensor chip, the Chromebook CPUs will be based on Arm; and that Google is looking to develop them for both laptop and tablet-style form factors.

The rumor doesn’t mention what Google’s plans are for its custom Chromebook chips. It’s been nearly two years since it released the Pixelbook Go (the only Google-made Chromebook that the company currently sells) and close to three since its last tablet, the lackluster Pixel Slate.

There aren’t a lot of details on what Google hopes to accomplish with its Chromebook chips (for comparison, the company’s Tensor chip for Pixels looks to focus primarily on AI performance), but the Nikkei Asia report does note that the company was particularly inspired by Apple’s success in custom chips for both its iPhone and Mac products. And while it might still be years away from reality, the idea of Google accomplishing a similar feat to Apple’s M1 chips for Chromebooks seems like a very intriguing possibility.