The new Kirin 970 from Huawei’s in-house chip manufacturer, Hisilicon, is truly an SoC with integrated artificial intelligence. The mobile AI housed in the new NPU is likely to bring some advantages, but Huawei has also taken it a step further elsewhere, too. We spoke with Ai Wei (Fellow, Chipsets and Hardware Technology Strategy) and Eric Zhou Chen (Planning Director, Kirin Team) about the new processor.
People currently know what a CPU and GPU are. The Kirin 970 sees the introduction of the NPU – the Neural Network Processing Unit, which makes up the AI portion of the SoC and gives the chip the ability to learn through neural networks. The artificial brain in the Kirin 970 combined with the CPU and GPU will bring 25x greater performance than the current computational and graphics processing unit combo and furthermore be 50 times more power efficient – yes, you read that right, fifty times. Impressive figures, although we won’t see its real-world performance until the October release of the Huawei Mate 10. But, it’s not just the NPU that may have other chip manufacturers worried.Huawei has significantly leapfrogged Qualcomm and Samsung in the LTE module department. While both competitors have only announced their own LTE Cat. 18 modules with uncertain dates in the coming year—placing heavy emphasis on these announcements—Huawei is practically coming out of nowhere with Cat. 18 and twice the max. data rate at 1.2 Gbit/s. This is technically possible via a combination of 4×4 MiMo antennas that bring carrier aggregation via LTE to a whole new level, as Ai Wei emphasizes.Of course, the 1.2 Gbit/s value is only a theoretical maximum, but Huawei’s LTE