Reports have reached us that Facebook has hired one of the major chip developers of Google by the name Shahriar Rabii in an effort to aid the social network to design its own silicon. Earlier this year, Facebook joined in on the chip-developing venture when it started building a team in order to design custom chips to power server and consumer hardware. Our sources report that the new role Rabii will take is as vice president and head of silicon.
This trend is the recent thing in vogue with many tech giants. Most of them are now working to design their own chips instead of relying on suppliers such as Intel and Qualcomm. For almost ten years, Apple on its own part has been working on developing its own custom processors for iOS devices and now it has designed custom single-purpose chips for AI and other tasks recently. According to the reports reaching us from our sources, Apple is planning to use its own chips to replace Intel processors in its Macintosh product line by 2020. Even Amazon has ventured into the design of its own chips with the aim of powering AI features for its Echo smart speakers.
The chips used for the Pixel smartphones are produced by Google itself. They are known as Visual Core chips. Rabii was the leader of the team that developed the Visual Core chips. As Facebook’s employee, Rabii’s job is not likely going to be design of chips for Facebook branded smartphones, however, Facebook is working on some hardware types that require a custom processor.
Early this year, Oculus VR owned by Facebook launched a standalone Oculus Go VR headsets that relies on a Qualcomm chip. It is possible that its future models will be using custom Facebook chips instead. Sources say that Facebook is also developing its own series of smart speakers like the Echo Show with AI features, a custom chip will give Facebook a good advantage.