Huawei is the third most important company in this to create mobile phones, in the sale of them. In its aspirations has always been approaching and surpassing the two untouchable giants of the industry – Apple and Samsung, for this it is necessary to do different things, innovate, and obviously understand the market very well.
So far Huawei had a pretty good pace and the valuation of the brand by users is high, both in China and in Europe. One of the characteristics that make it valued in the eyes of specialists is the ability to create components to the taste and need of the phone that are shaping; In recent years they have been making their own chipsets under the Hilisicon brand, better known as Kirin.
In this recently completed IFA have not wanted to give prominence to a new phone, all the weight has been taken by a new mobile processor that focuses on things that we had not dealt with so far, such as hardware-level processing of tasks related to artificial intelligence. Yes, we are talking about the Kirin 970 and its chip dedicated to these tasks.
Artificial intelligence ‘inside’
A fairly normal scenario in a new generation mobile phone is to recognize images quickly, also to translate languages in real time, without forgetting that you have to understand and obey our voice through an intelligent assistant.
There is also a very important open door with augmented reality. In all these processes having a part of the hardware designed exclusively to make it better and faster, can give Huawei an advantage. The invention in question is called ‘Neural Processing Unit’ (NPU).
It is inevitable to think of the cloud when we speak of processes ‘machine learning’ or artificial intelligence, all the proposals that we know tend to connect to much more capable teams to look for better solutions to our questions and demands. What we understand that Huawei proposes is to help this process with things that can be prepared before at the telephone level, they baptize the system as Mobile AI (On-Device AI + Cloud AI).
We must bear in mind that Huawei has not yet prepared a personal assistant, in the style of Siri, Alexa or the Google assistant. It seems obvious to us that this is what they are going to do after announcing a hardware like this, we also understand that the big investment they have to make is to improve the software, still one step behind in design and functionalities that other proposals.
How is Kirin 970?
From the point of view of a conventional mobile processor, then very modern, highlighting its manufacturing technology of 10nm – like a Snapdragon 835. As for architecture, we have a main unit of 8 cores (at 2.4GHz), a 12-core GPU (Mali G72MP12), in addition to the aforementioned NPU.
Huawei boasts that its Kirin 970 includes 5500 million transistors in an area of just one square centimeter. It will sound incredible but that is 2,500 million more than those used in a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, the best we can buy right now. The RAM memory associated with this configuration is of the LPDDR 4X type and the storage memory, UFS 2.1.
Compared to a Kirin 960 of a Mate 9 or P10? Huawei says the new hardware is 25 times more powerful and 50 times more energy efficient. These figures are always diluted in practice, but they are laboratory numbers that invite us to think about a significant jump.
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Helping the camera
The camera will also benefit from this particular process unit, in addition to releasing a new Dual processor for the work of the sensors. I speak in the plural since everyone assumes that this hardware will be accompanied by double cameras. It will also be necessary to work with 4K information flows, which on this occasion may be passed through the HDR 10 filter.
In the presentation of Berlin the Huawei boys assured that their new camera system will be faster focusing, they showed a couple of photos in movement, one of them captured with a Galaxy S8. As expected, the device with Kirin 970 was clearer.
In an internal test in which the performance of hardware image recognition is measured, the Kirin 970 processed a figure close to 2000 images per minute. They put us as a comparative example to the iPhone 7 Plus, which does not reach 500 images in the same time. Very good, but the most fair thing will be to compare with the new iPhone.
Kirin 970 and the connectivity of the future
Apart from that relevant news that we discussed, Kirin 970 is a more powerful hardware than we already had, with a special detail for connectivity . Huawei is one of the companies that command the network infrastructure industry, always try to go ahead with the standards and in this development it would not be less.
We are facing a hardware that supports the call 4.5G LTE connectivity, which in our language is interpretable as being able to connect to networks at a download speed of up to 1.2Gbps. This is what is considered as LTE Cat 18, the first of its kind, which will also be accompanied by a new generation Dual SIM support : a 4.5G SIM and a 4G SIM.
Mate 10, the manager to release it
All this would not make sense without a phone to buy, and that will be without any doubt the Huawei Mate 10 (and its Pro version). The new flagship of the Chinese house will be presented on October 16 in Munich, after having shown everything that Apple, Samsung or even Xiaomi, have ready for the new season.
Kirin 970 will not be the only relevant novelty in the new Mate, in it we expect the incursion of the Chinese brand in the phones without frames, putting itself directly at the level of what was shown by LG and Samsung this season. I would bet on something more like Mi Mix, than a Galaxy S8.
We have no doubt that this same heart will be used in the next Huawei P11, possibly in an evolved version of it (Kirin 975 or something like that), something usual in the brand.
Betting on innovation and high-end, differentiate
The reality is that Kirin hardware is used by Huawei in its high-end phones, and it is the basket where it seems that it wants to put most of its eggs. Differentiate from its competitors while becoming less dependent on suppliers such as Qualcomm, something that Samsung already does half with Exynos, also Apple with its own processors.
Regardless of wanting to catch the market leaders, Huawei keeps a complicated fight with Oppo, another company that works with quality and innovation, but one step behind in dependence on suppliers, and this is something that Huawei may be giving wings to separate from this particular competition.
The feeling I have after their latest releases is that they will leave the weight of ranges inferior to their sub-brand Honor, and they will create each time Huawei models with fewer compromises, with more elements with which to compete with the high-end Samsung or Apple.