A potential shift in smartphone chip production seemed imminent, with Google’s upcoming Pixel 10, expected in the fall of 2025, possibly featuring a Tensor G5 chipset manufactured in the United States. This speculation comes from the convergence of two key factors: Google’s rumored partnership with TSMC, the world’s leading semiconductor foundry, and TSMC’s plans to launch a fabrication plant in Arizona in the first half of 2025. This alignment suggested a potential move by Google to bring the production of its custom silicon to American soil, but the Pixel 10 may just be a tad too early for a ‘Made in America’ Tensor chipset.

Historically, Google has entrusted Samsung with the production of its Tensor chipsets. However, rumors suggest that the Tensor G4 powering this year’s Pixel 9 will mark the end of this collaboration, with the Tensor G5 slated to be manufactured by TSMC. Recent developments in the semiconductor industry, particularly in the US, make it likely that part of this production may occur within the country’s borders. But even if does, the timing might not favor the Pixel 10.

The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, aimed at revitalizing the American semiconductor industry, has provided significant funding to companies like TSMC for the construction of domestic fabrication facilities. Notably, TSMC has some ambitious plans for its Arizona plants fueling the speculation of a potential “Made in America” Tensor G5 chip. While the first fab is slated for 4nm production in 2025, aligning with the Tensor G5’s rumored 4nm process, the second fab is projected to ramp up to 3nm production by 2028, paving the way for even more advanced chipsets in the future.

US-Foundry-TSMC-Google-Pixel

However, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. Recent revelations from a publicly available trade database indicate that a Tensor G5 chip, codenamed “Laguna Beach,” has already been shipped from Taiwan to India for testing. While not definitive proof, this suggests that the Tensor G5 might already be in advanced stages of production, well before TSMC’s Arizona plant is expected to be fully operational.

If anything, the Pixel 10’s Tensor G5 might already be in production at TSMC’s existing facilities outside the US. This implies that while the Pixel 10 could be the first to feature a TSMC-manufactured Tensor chip, it might not be the first to boast a ‘Made in America’ Tensor chipset.

Despite this, the prospect of future Pixel devices, potentially even later iterations of the Pixel 10 aka Pixel 10a or the subsequent Pixel 11, utilizing chips produced in TSMC’s Arizona plant remains a strong possibility. This would align with Google’s apparent strategy of transitioning chip production to TSMC and the broader industry trend towards diversifying semiconductor manufacturing locations.

The timeline for debuting a fully ‘Made in America’ Tensor chipset remains uncertain, but the pieces are falling into place. With Google’s partnership with TSMC and the latter’s investment in US manufacturing, the stage is set for a potential shift in the landscape of Pixel chip production.

This potential delay in domestic production doesn’t negate the broader implications of Google’s partnership with TSMC and the growing momentum of the US semiconductor industry. It simply underscores the complexities and challenges inherent in such a monumental shift. The semiconductor industry is notoriously intricate, and transitioning to a new manufacturer and location can be fraught with unforeseen obstacles.

The prospect of a ‘Made in America’ Tensor G5, while currently uncertain for the Pixel 10’s initial release, remains a tantalizing prospect for the future. It symbolizes a potential turning point in Google’s hardware strategy and the broader push for technological self-sufficiency in the US. Whether this vision will fully materialize in the Pixel 10 or be realized in later iterations, only time will tell.

Hillary Keverenge
2164 Posts

Tech has been my playground for over a decade. While the Android journey began early, it truly took flight with the revolutionary Lollipop update. Since then, it's been a parade of Android devices (with a sprinkle of iOS), culminating in a mostly happy marriage with Google's smart home ecosystem. Expect insightful articles and explorations of the ever-evolving world of Android and Google products coupled with occasional rants on the Nest smart home ecosystem.

Next article View Article

512GB Pixel 7 Pro can be yours for just $469.99

If you've been eyeing Google's flagship Pixel 7 Pro but couldn't justify its premium price tag, your patience has finally paid off. In an unprecedented deal, the...
Jun 05, 2024 1 Min Read