Huawei Gets Kirin Chip to 7nm Process

Huawei gave a keynote and after an introduction when the IFA exec said that he had visited the Huawei HQ in China and that it is extremely impressive, Richard Yu of Huawei came on.

Huawei Yu

He pointed out that the company introduced the first HiSilicon Kirin SoC with AI features at last year’s show and AI is a big topic on devices and in the cloud. He introduced the new Kirin 980 chipset, the first 7nm mobile SoC and with the most powerful Cortex A-76-based CPU and a dual NPU. It also has a Mali-G76 high speed GPU and Yu said that the chip has 6.9 billion transistors in the space less than his fingernail.

Huawei has been working on the technology for several years as speed goes up 20% compared to 10nm chips with 40% better power efficiency. Since the Kirin 920, the number of transistors has gone up from 2 billion transistors.

Yu said that the chip is 37% better and power consumption is 32% less than the Snapdragon 845, going from 6.3 DMIPs/W to 8.3. The architecture has changed from 4 big and four little processors to two big (2.6GHz turbo performance), two middle (1.92GHz) and four little CPUs (1.8GHz Cortex A-55). This gives very long battery life. For heavy-load gaming, you need all the processors, but not for many applications. Launch times are quicker than the Snapdragon.

huawei scheduling

The new GPU is much more power efficient – Yu said it is 178% faster than the Kirin 970 from last year. It can also support faster memory to reduce latency. AI technology can be used to predict game processing and that can help to boost power when it is needed, but also reduce power when it is not needed. That means better framrates than achieved by Qualcomm’s S845.

There is a dual image signal processing facility that improves camera image processing by 46% as well as reducing the noise in images.

Turning to the AI chip, the new processor is claimed to be two or three times faster than other systems on tasks such as image recognition. Real time processing is powerful enough to move from still photos to video. The processor can even support multi-person real time gesture recognition and real-time video background replacement.

DSC08036Huawei showed this comparison on an AI task between the Kirin and the iPhone X A11. Image:Meko

In connectivity, the SoC supports 4 x 4 mimo reception and can transmit 1.4Gbps. Metros and high speed railway environments are tricky for mobile data and Yu said that the 980 is 10 times smoother in data streaming in these difficult conditions. For Wi-fi, the chip, which used with a Huawei chip can go up to 1.732Gbps. GPS positioning accuracy is said to be 10X better and Huawei is working with a modem from Balong to create a 5G solution.

Yu said that Kirin 980 is better than the Snapdragon 845 in every aspect. They are the same for GPU benchmarks, but in real gaming, the Kirin is ahead. The first phone to use the new chip will be the Mate 20, which will be launched in London on October 16th. The second will be an Honor model.

Yu claimed that since the launch of the Mate 10, the company has shipped more than 10 million phones and since the launch of the P20 and P20 Pro, just five months ago, more than 10 million have been shipped. The P20 Pro is reckoned by DXO to have the best camera and still has that place, five months later.

The Morpho Aurora phone has a new cover that is like mother of pearl and has a unique colour, inspired by the colours of the Aurora Borealis.

A new gadget is the AI Cube (it’s cylindrical!) which is a smart speaker, but including a 4G router to deliver high speed internet ‘anywhere’ and very fast Wi-fi. The audio quality is also claimed to be very high and there are integrated far field microphones with Alexa built-in. Daniel Rausch VP of Alexa at Amazon came on stage to support Huawei. Alexa is just four years old, but has developed very rapidly with many new devices and with many new capabilities.There are now more than 50,000 Alexa skills and the number of supported home devices has gone up from 4,000 at the end of 2017 to 20,000 now, just nine months later.

Huawei CubeHuawei’s “Cube” (really!!!)

Another new product is the Huawei locator which has two weeks of battery life and can work globally. It has an SOS button and supports Bluetooth low energy. It can be used for tracking luggage or other valuables such as medical devices or supplies.