A person tries a new Google Pixel phone at the Google pop-up shop in the SoHo neighborhood, Oct. 20, 2016 in New York City. The shop lets people try out new Google products such as the Pixel phone, Google Home, and Daydream VR. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Internet search giant Google has hired Indian American engineer Manu Gulati, who was Apple’s chip architect for iPads and iPhones, to play a key role in building its upcoming flagship Pixel phone, according to media reports.
Gulati, who had worked at Apple for almost eight years as a micro-architect, announced the job change through LinkedIn.
He is now the Lead SoC Architect for Google.
He has at least 15 Apple patents related to chip design under his belt and will be key in Google’s plan to build its own processors, the CNBC reported.
Google is now expanding their team of chip experts so that it can build their own chipsets for future Pixel smartphones.
Gulati was instrumental in Apple’s bid to build custom chips for the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. In the past, he has been responsible for the A4 and A9 chips which powered the 2010 iPad.
Apple currently builds its own smartphone processors but Google does not.
Apple’s newest A10X chips, for example, are built-in house instead of by companies like Intel or Qualcomm. Qualcomm currently supplies its Snapdragon processor for Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones.
Google’s new hire could help the company differentiate Pixel from the many other smartphones by other vendors that run Android on Qualcomm chips. And Gulati’s exit is seen as a setback for Apple, which has filed a number of chip-related patents that credit Gulati as an inventor.
Gulati’s LinkedIn profile says he is now Google’s lead SOC architect. SoC stands for system on a chip.
He has also been employed by Broadcom and AMD.
With Gulati now part of its team, Google can have an edge over other companies while it comes as a significant blow to Cupertino-based Apple.
“Apple filed a total of 15 chip-related patents that credit Gulati as one of the inventors. Some of these filings describe fundamental chip architecture, while others are more specific to certain applications,” the report said.
If Google begins building processors in house, like Apple, it would potentially cut down on Google’s reliance on Qualcomm, the report said.
Other firms, such as Huawei and Samsung, have also started to build chips in-house, allowing them to rely less on potential supply restraints from outside parties.
A spokesperson for Apple was not immediately available for comment, the report said.
Google confirmed that Gulati is now working for the company but declined to provide additional details.