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Qualcomm throws all the shade at Google for the Pixel 6 Tensor chip

Google Tensor chipset
Google Tensor chipset (Image credit: Google)

Updated to reflect multi-year support with the Snapdragon 888.

What you need to know

  • Qualcomm pokes fun at Google for designing its own chip instead of using Snapdragon.
  • The Google Tensor chip is an in-house design that will power the upcoming Google Pixel 6.
  • Qualcomm has powered every Pixel smartphone up until now.

With the Pixel 6 on the way, there's much excitement brewing over the capabilities of the new Google Tensor chip. However, Qualcomm is not as excited since it means Google is more or less abandoning the chipmaker to make its own SoC.

The company took to Twitter to take part in the red flag meme. If you're not in the know, the meme simply points out scenarios that are seen as red flags, followed by a series of red flag emoji. In this case, the red flag is the Google Tensor chip.

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While Qualcomm doesn't directly name Google, it's clearly aimed at the search giant. Even Samsung, which builds its own in-house Exynos chip for international models, uses Qualcomm in its best Android phones for specific regions.

As one Android Central staff member points out, it's funny how Qualcomm is throwing shade at Google even though the Pixel 6 is rumored to receive four years of OS upgrades and five years of security patches. Meanwhile, even the best Qualcomm phones have been known to receive at most a few years of updates and patches.

That said, Qualcomm upped its game a notch with the Snapdragon 888, gaining support for up to "four Android versions" and four years of security updates, but it may still fall behind the Pixel 6.

Of course, we'll have to wait and see until the full Pixel 6 announcement, but it's starting to look like moving away from Qualcomm might have been the best decision for Google to take full advantage of its hardware and software chops.

That said, Google isn't altogether abandoning Qualcomm, as the two companies will continue to work together to support Android. However, after powering every Pixel smartphone until now, it's no surprise Qualcomm would take a moment to throw a little shade at the upcoming Pixel 6.

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

17 Comments
  • I'm glad I muted that emoji
  • Whether it's Tensor or Snapdragon, the "Pixel 6 is rumored to receive four years of OS upgrades and five years of security patches" excites me the most. I'm at 3 years even on my T-Mobile OnePlus 6T. Still going strong, so have no need, or desire, to upgrade.
  • It's way past time for Qualcomm to provide support for 4 years of android updates for it's processors.
  • They just need to stop this stupid rolling updates! Yeah, five or four years of device support sounds great. Until they dump an update that kills waze and maps in the background every time, or one that completely kills your GPS. Since your phone is on the back burner, all those new bugs never get fixed, and the background apps get limited. Release a finished product that works for 4-5 years! You know, like they used before everyone started copying apple. Now everyone releases beta software that gets fixed in the wild about 2 years after release
    Great news, we fixed the bug from 4.2.2.2.2. but it's fixed on 5.1
  • I don't understand the 'copying Apple' dig. Apple does support 4-5 year old models with their OS upgrades. If it's the fixing bugs point. The majority of Apple devices are on the latest OS, so having to backfill multiple OS versions with fixes is moot. It is the user's option in iOS to not upgrade, it is not forced on them by the Processor/device OEM.
  • One of the reasons Android and toward that matter WearOS is in the state it's in. Is directly a result of Qualcomm and it's lack of support for it older SoC's. Now that OEM's are saying "We'll do it ourselves". Qualcomm is starting to get a fire lit under them. There's this thing called competition, it's a great thing to see. Makes companies work harder and provide more value and cheaper at that. I kinda like that, you should too.
  • Hahaha sounds like Intel whining about the M1 chip
  • Qualcomm should know better than to behave this way .... Competition is suppose to encourage more innovation, as well as affordable prices (if another chipset can perform better + guarantee more updates within a longer time span? then step up and come out with a better chipset!)
  • Remember that time in band camp when Qualcomm made fun of iPhone 5s A7 chip……. And to this day, apple STILL delivering security updates to the iPhone 5s…..
  • Nobody should buy a Pixel with its first generation chip... Early adopters typically get screwed
  • Everyone should buy a Pixel with their first generation chip, just to scare the heck out of Qualcomm.
  • Nvidia still supports the Shield TV years later and tried to make a mobile chip for phones using the same technology that it would also support for 5+ years but Qualcomm made sure it wouldn't work in North America (insert several stupid red flags)
  • Qualcomm is looking kind of toxic right now. Might want to give them some room.
  • Qualcomm really need a competition. I would argue since Nvidia basically abandoned the tablet and smartphone market that Qualcomm has been sitting not really moving the needle much on any given year.
  • Google will likely still use Qualcomm's MDM cellular chip in the Pixel 6 - it's the pricier integrated cell + App Processor "MSM" that Google is foregoing by using their own Tensor solution.
  • I mean they aren't wrong though. I am sure for at least 2-3 gens it will be rough for Google (if they even last that long before pulling the plug like everything else). I mean even apple's own chips didn't really take off and perform super well until a few generations in. It will be interesting to see how well the Tensor does in the real-world and if it is a true competitor to the flagship SD chips. Maybe if it works for Google, one day Qualcomm will be able to match the A-series chips in the iphones. 
  • Stop b1tching Qualcomm and get innovating. That's what competition is all about. They've let Apple's A chips leave them in the dust, and Google might do the same in time with Tensor.