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Huawei Unveils 10nm Kirin 970 Chipset with Dedicated NPU & Cat.18 LTE

03 September 2017

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei, not only gave those in attendance a look at it latest processor, but also a glimpse of its plans for the future in regards to artificial intelligence.

Huawei just made its proprietary Kirin 970 SoC official.

"Smartphones are smart but they are not intelligent enough", Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei's Consumer Business Group, said at this year's IFA electronics fair.

Yu did not offer details into what type of smartphones the chip will be installed in nor what price range those smartphones will fall into.

A source told the Nikkei Asian Review that the Kirin 970 uses the most advanced 10-nanometer technology from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world's largest contract chipmaker that is also supplying all the core processors for the upcoming iPhones. Rather, his focus was on the processor that will power it, the Huawei-built Kirin 970. It bets big on AI and comes with what Huawei calls a neural processing unit (or NPU) bringing on-device AI capabilities. Huawei says its "new heterogeneous computing architecture delivers up to 25x the performance with 50x greater efficiency" than your typical quad-core Cortex-A73 CPU cluster helping it outperform other chips on the market in AI tasks.

The company claimed that mobile devices powered by the Kirin 970 will be able to "truly know and understand their users", supporting real-time image recognition, voice interaction and intelligent photography easily. The iPhone 7 sorted 487 images in that time. It's unclear if the A11 CPU expected to power the iPhone 8 will have dedicated AI processing built into the chip.

Huawei wasn't done making comparisons to rival handsets.

While AI work done in the cloud is one thing, on-device AI computation will continue to grow, with the need for sensors to operate without waiting to send any information back and forth over wireless connections. The Kirin 970 has a dual image signal processor, which should focus faster and be more responsive.

Other features in the Kirin 970 include dual SIM card support and a 4.5G LTE modem capable of supporting 1.2 Gbps network speeds.

Huawei Unveils 10nm Kirin 970 Chipset with Dedicated NPU & Cat.18 LTE