Google Pixel Uses the Hardware Crypto Engine of the Snapdragon 821

Google Pixel Uses the Hardware Crypto Engine of the Snapdragon 821

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Encryption on our smartphones is more important today than it ever has been. With more government bodies trying to hack into people’s personal computers, having the data that is being stored on our devices encrypted can give us the peace of mind that we deserve — at least some extra, anyway. Google has taken this seriously for a while now,  and has been requiring OEMs to enable encryption by default as long as the hardware meets a certain level of performance.

This lets customers who are spending $500+ on a smartphone know that their data is safe, while also letting handset makers continue to produce low-end and mid-range devices that are not crippled by performance issues. With Google’s Nexus program, they’ve had encryption enabled by default for a while now.

We saw Google representatives talk about how the software solution used in the Huawei Nexus 6P was better than what Qualcomm was offering in the Snapdragon 810. So instead of offloading it to that chip, it was all handled with the CPU. This meant that there were some people who felt it was better for performance to disable forced encryption. Doing so did show an improvement when it came to benchmark numbers, but most couldn’t tell the difference in real-world usage.

Now though, a Google engineer that helped to develop the Pixel and Pixel XL has shed some light on how things are working with Google’s new smartphones. He says the crypto engine in the Snapdragon 820 and the Snapdragon 821 are so good, that they focused on getting it working with Android 7.0‘s new file-based encryption. They were able to do just that, so this means the encryption of the Pixel and Pixel XL will not use up significant CPU resources when implemented.

Source: @t_murray