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Google had a smaller Pixel smartphone with a Tensor SoC in development, possibly the Pixel 5

There could be some prototype Pixel 5's with Tensor SoCs in Google's offices. (Image source: Unsplash)
There could be some prototype Pixel 5's with Tensor SoCs in Google's offices. (Image source: Unsplash)
It seems that Google was originally developing the Pixel 5 with its Tensor SoC, rather than the Snapdragon 765G. The device, codenamed 'whitefin', contains an earlier revision of Tensor with different clock speeds than the SoC in the Pixel 6 series, too.

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are the first devices to launch with Google's in-house SoC, but there is more evidence that that was not the company's initial plan. in August, Marques Brownlee commented during his Pixel 5a review:

...I'm actually pretty confident, based on conversations I've had with people at Google, that they really actually wanted to launch Tensor with Pixel 5.

Supposedly, Google were unable to do this, so they integrated Tensor in the Pixel 6 series instead. Incidentally, @MishaalRahman notes that a device codenamed 'whitefin' shares many specifications with the Pixel 5 but with a Tensor SoC. Seemingly, 'whitefin' amalgamates 'whitechapel' and 'redfin', the codenames for Tensor and the Pixel 5, respectively. 

Additionally, @mile_freak07 has discovered that 'whitefin' has a different variant of Tensor than the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro. While these utilise GS101-B0, 'whitefin' relies on an earlier revision, GS101-A0. Other source code states that GS101-A0 has different CPU clock speeds than GS101-B0, which we have summarised below:

CPU cores GS101-A0 GS101-B0
4x ARM Cortex-A55 2.0 GHz 1.8 GHz
2x ARM Cortex-A78 1.9 GHz 2.25 GHz
2x ARM Cortex-X2 2.3 GHz 2.8 GHz

Ultimately, @mile_freak07 and @MishaalRahman's findings demonstrate what could have been for the Pixel 5 and the Pixel series. Theoretically, Google could release 'whitefin' as the Pixel 6a, which would bring the Tensor SoC to a smaller form factor. Seemingly, 'bluejay' is Google's next mid-range smartphone. However, past performance has us doubting that it would re-use the Pixel 5's chassis for the Pixel 6a as Apple has with both versions of the iPhone SE.

Purchase the Google Pixel 6 on Amazon

Source(s)

Google (1) (2) (3) (4) via @mile_freak07 & @MishaalRahman, Jonas Elia - Image credit

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Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - Senior Tech Writer - 5721 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.
contact me via: @aldersonaj
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 11 > Google had a smaller Pixel smartphone with a Tensor SoC in development, possibly the Pixel 5
Alex Alderson, 2021-11-11 (Update: 2021-11-11)