Huawei Unveils AI Mobile Chipset Said to Rival A11 Processor in Upcoming iPhones

On Saturday, Chinese mobile maker Huawei unveiled its first artificial intelligence smartphone chipset, which it hopes will lure customers away from Apple's upcoming range of new iPhones and towards the Asian company's "most powerful handset yet", the Mate 10, which is set to debut next month (via Nikkei Asian Review).

Huawei touted the Kirin 970 AI mobile chipset's built-in "neural processing unit" at the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, claiming that the technology is "20 times faster" than a traditional processor.

Mate 10 handset render via Weibo
"The Kirin 970 is faster, better and more secure than anything else available [in the market]. This is the latest technology and it is the first chip to have a neural processing unit inside, which is 20 times faster than a central processing unit," said Richard Yu, chief of Huawei's consumer business group.

"It is a major breakthrough for Huawei. We will enable the first use of AI technology in mobile apps, and provide consumers with a never-before-seen AI experience right in the palm of their hands," he added.
The world's third largest smartphone maker claimed that mobile devices powered by the Kirin 970 will be able to "truly know and understand their users", by supporting real-time image recognition, voice interaction, and intelligent photography with ease.

"Compared with Samsung and Apple, we have advantages," Yu said in an interview with Reuters. "Users are in for much faster (feature) performance, longer battery life and more compact design."

According to Nikkei, the Kirin 970 integrates 5.5 billion transistors in a single square centimeter about the size of a thumbnail, which includes an octa-core central processing unit, a 12-core graphics processing unit, a dual-image signal processor, a high-speed 1.2Gbps Cat.18 modem, and AI mobile computing architecture.

The Kirin 970 is said to be based on the same 10-nanometer technology as Apple's existing A10X Fusion processor and the A11 processor that will power its new iPhone range, set to debut this month. The A10X powers Apple's latest 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablets, making them the first consumer devices to feature a chip built on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's advanced 10-nanometer FinFET technology.

Mark Li, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, claimed that the new chip powering Huawei's Mate 10 may be better than the chips for the new iPhone range. "The new Huawei chip can be 10 times as powerful as an average smartphone chip, and also more energy efficient, when it comes to handling AI-related functions such as image and voice recognition," Li said. But he added that the popularity of the chip would depend on whether Huawei is able exploit its power in a killer AI app.

The Mate 10 is said to be a bezel-less all-screen handset with a 6-inch, 2:1 display and a 2,160 x 1,080 resolution. Like Apple's so-called "iPhone 8", the Mate 10 is also expected to feature some form of facial recognition and improved cameras.

Huawei aims to become the world's largest smartphone maker by 2021, ahead of both Apple and Samsung, and the latest market share data suggests it is making headway towards that goal.

The company shipped an estimated 38.4 million smartphones in the June quarter, a 20 percent increase over a year ago, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. By comparison, Apple reported it sold 41 million iPhones in the same period, up nearly 2 percent from 40.4 million iPhones in the year-ago quarter.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X


Top Rated Comments

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12 months ago
Here are the single core benchmarks from the Kirin 960 and A10. Huawei will need to effectively double performance just to catch up to Apple's year old processor

As for the "20X faster", that sounds like pure ********. Let's see the benchmark scores



[B]GeekBench 3 Benchmark Comparison[/B]
Single-core Score

[LIST=1]
* Apple A10 : 3510
* Exynos 8890 : 2041
* Kirin 960 : 1989
* Snapdragon 820 : 1845
* Snapdragon 821 : 1827
Rating: 24 Votes
Avatar
12 months ago
To me, this is all useless. These tit-for-tat spec wars remind me of the 90s where everyone else was busying themselves comparing megahertz and the 00s when it was the digital camera industry and megapixels. This has nothing to do with a fluid user experience. Apple is king when it comes to hardware/software integration, and I couldn't care less about the number of "Hz" or "x" or cores or transistors. Whatevs, Huawei et al. It's a distraction and a route to claim superiority for the user where none exists. I will go where (fluid experience + app library + quality + security/trustworthiness + support) take me, and right now that's Apple in a heartbeat.
Rating: 17 Votes
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12 months ago
I’ll believe it when I see proof. I recall other tall tales like the PlayStation’s emotion engine.
Rating: 13 Votes
Avatar
12 months ago
But it runs Android, so the phone will never be updated. The software will suck, and the reason it knows so much about you is because it'll mine all your data. Will wonders never cease?
Rating: 8 Votes
Avatar
12 months ago

You must be using Apple software from a parallel universe then. Nothing is in any way simpler in macOS or iOS - it's usually just different and in many cases even more cumbersome and less intuituve. Especially on macOS, a lot of stuff also is slower than Windows or Linux on the same Mac. At least that's my experience from the last 12+ years.


I previously was a windows user until 2006 or so - an example (have many more) why I switched; format PC several times in order it to run smooth compared to Mac where I format when a new MacOS is released, and recently was using an android tablet - did not find it as fluid as iOS.

I can confidently say that I find Apple much better. I am afaird to say that you're living in a parallels world. Your examples are vague, so I am not sure who you're trying to convince?
Rating: 7 Votes
Avatar
12 months ago
A11 in iPhone 8 will be beast, it will be the fastest and Much power sufficient till date. Can't wait to see how this beast will perform.
Rating: 7 Votes
Avatar
12 months ago
I still expect the A11 to trounce it in single core performance.
[doublepost=1504444961][/doublepost]

Here are the single core benchmarks from the Kirin 960 and A10. Huawei will need to effectively double performance just to catch up to Apple's year old processor

As for the "20X faster", that sounds like pure ********. Let's see the benchmark scores



[B]GeekBench 3 Benchmark Comparison[/B]
Single-core Score

[LIST=1]
* Apple A10 : 3510
* Exynos 8890 : 2041
* Kirin 960 : 1989
* Snapdragon 820 : 1845
* Snapdragon 821 : 1827

It's pretty insane to think that Apple is effectively more than a year ahead in terms of soc performance.
Rating: 7 Votes
Avatar
12 months ago


[B]GeekBench 3 Benchmark Comparison
Single-core Score [/B]

[LIST=1]
* Apple A10 : 3510
* Exynos 8890 : 2041
* Kirin 960 : 1989
* Snapdragon 820 : 1845
* Snapdragon 821 : 1827

Here is a intresting leak which shows geekbench score of A11 cpu

According to one Twitter tipster, who goes by the name Ice Universe, the A11 achieves Geekbench scores between 4300 and 4600 in single-core tests, and between 7000 and 8500 in multi-core tests.



https://www.cultofmac.com/495128/iphone-8s-a11-chip-enters-mass-production/

Rating: 6 Votes
Avatar
12 months ago
I don't care about other companies are better than Apple in terms of hardware etc because Apple Operating System whether be MacOS or iOS is by far superior (as in simplicity, Sure it doesn't have customisation but it is really not that important, security - yes I know it's not 100% but better than the rest, etc) and that is one thing they can never compete with lol All these companies need to either move away from Androiud or Android becomes a closed system!
Rating: 6 Votes
Avatar
12 months ago

I don't care about other companies are better than Apple in terms of hardware etc because Apple Operating System whether be MacOS or iOS is by far superior (as in simplicity, Sure it doesn't have customisation but it is really not that important, security - yes I know it's not 100% but better than the rest, etc) and that is one thing they can never compete with lol All these companies need to either move away from Androiud or Android becomes a closed system!


This is exactly right. A fact that most other Companies seem to miss. We don’t like Apple because they have the fastest processor or curved screens. We like Apple because of the security. I buy Apple to avoid viruses and malware. Until a far superior closed OS comes out, I’m not changing.
Rating: 4 Votes
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