Huawei's AI-powered 7 nm Kirin 980 chipset to hit the Indian markets in Q4 2018

Huawei first unveiled the Kirin 980 at the consumer electronics show IFA 2018 in Berlin last month.

Chinese tech giant Huawei on 21 September said that the company's seven-nanometre mobile chipset equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, the Kirin 980, will reach Indian consumers in the fourth quarter of this year.

Based on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturer Company's (TSMC) 7nm process, Kirin 980 delivers 20 per cent improved performance and 40 percent more power efficiency, according to Huawei which surpassed Apple to become the second-largest global smartphone seller behind Samsung in the second quarter of this year.

"In addition to improving performance of your device, Kirin 980 has the potential to improve both network connectivity and data download speeds," Brody Ji, senior product director, Huawei Consumer Business Group, told IANS.

Kirin 980. Image: Huawei

Kirin 980. Image: Huawei

"The chip will be available not only in flagship Huawei devices, but also in its mid-range phones," he said, adding that even some future Honor (a Huawei sub-brand) devices would be powered by Kirin 980.

Kirin 980 is the "world's first" SoC to sport a modem that supports LTE Category 21 which supports a downlink of 1.4Gbps, Huawei said.

Additionally, the Kirin 980 supports carrier aggregation, even across frequency bands, so users are free to choose their mobile operators and still enjoy the same premium connectivity experience, the company added.

The "Hi1103 Wi-Fi" module that comes with Kirin 980 supports a maximum download speed of 1.7Gbps, Huawei said.

The chip supports dual-frequency (L1 and L5) GPS for ultra-precise positioning. This solution works across all scenarios, from urban homes to highways to country side, the company claimed.

"Kirin 980 is the first SoC to be equipped with dual NPU (Neural Processing Unit). It has been designed as an all-round powerhouse that not only features outstanding AI capabilities, but also brings cutting-edge raw performance to consumers," Brody said.

When Huawei first unveiled the system-on-a-chip (SoC) at the consumer electronics show IFA 2018 in Berlin last month, it became the first company to launch a 7nm mobile chip ahead of its competitors.

Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO Richard Yu then confirmed that the first smartphone to be powered by the Kirin 980 chipset will be Huwaei's Mate 20 series which is to be launched in London on 16 October.

The TSMC 7nm process technology enables Kirin 980 to pack 6.9 billion transistors within a "1 square cm die size", up by 1.6 times from the previous generation.

In an octa-core configuration, the CPU in Kirin 980 is comprised of two high-performance Cortex-A76 cores; two high-efficiency Cortex-A76 cores; and two extreme efficiency Cortex-A55 cores, the company said.

Debuting with the Kirin 980 chip, Mali-G76 offers 46 per cent greater graphics processing power at 178 per cent improved power efficiency over the previous generation, according to Huawei.

"This chip will significantly improve camera performance of devices and gaming experience for consumers," Brody said.

Mali-G76 utilises AI to intelligently identify gaming workloads and adjust resource allocation for optimal gaming performance.

Kirin 980 supports common AI frameworks such as Caffee, Tensorflow and Tensorflow Lite, and provides a suite of tools that simplifies the difficulty of engineering on-device AI, allowing developers to easily tap into the leading processing power of the dual NPU.

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