The Pixel 2 phones have two processors, including the Snapdragon 835 found in many of this year’s flagship Android handsets, and a the Pixel Visual Core, custom Google creation that’s dedicated to the camera. It turns out that special image processing chip isn’t a Google-only creation. Intel helped.
The Pixel 2 is receiving plenty of bad press right now because of the XL’s bad display, but the Pixel 2 cameras have received praising reviews. And what’s interesting about the current camera experience of the Pixel 2 is that it doesn’t even use the Google chip.
Google said that the Pixel Visual Core is supposed to only handle camera jobs and that it will be enabled via a software update in the future.
Strangely enough, Google chose not to talk about the Pixel Visual Core chip during the phone’s press event, and instead only unveiled its existence ahead of the phone’s launch, fully knowing that teardowns will discover it.
Unsurprisingly, the Pixel 2 teardowns did find the chip and CNBC observed that the serial number on the chip begins with SR3 just like some Intel chips.
Google then confirmed in an email that it did work with Intel on the Pixel Visual Core, noting that none of the existing chips had exactly what Google wanted for the Pixel cameras.
The CNBC did not reveal any other details about Intel’s involvement, but Ars Technica dug deeper to find “Monetter Hill” as the probable codename for Intel’s chip.
This may be a big win for Intel, as the company has struggled for years to crack the mobile business. Last year, Intel started working with Apple on LTE chips for the iPhone.