Huawei's Kirin 970 is official: high-power, AI-enabled mobile SoC

Monday, 04 Sep, 2017

The first smartphones to feature the new Kirin 970 processor will be the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro. The processor will enable AI on all future phones, courtesy of a NPA (neural processing unit) which Huawei CEO Richard Yu states can offer 25 times the performance, with 50 times the power efficiency of a quad-core Cortex-A73 cluster. Huawei says that on-device AI powered by the Kirin 970 helps address issues like latency and privacy, while also allowing improved image and voice recognition. "The Kirin 970 is the first in a series of new advances that will bring powerful AI features to our devices and take them beyond the competition", said Yu.

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. It is expected that this processor will power the Huawei Mate 10 smartphone. Instead of the CPU, the NPU carries out all the AI computing tasks and in a better and faster way.

"The NPU can think and actively work to provide you the best user experience, whereas other A.I. assistance like Google Assistant only works reactively", Yu said. The goal is for Cloud AI and On-Device AI to complement each other. In addition, Huawei claims that its new processor is "20 times faster" than any standard CPU.

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"Huawei is committed to developing smart devices into intelligent devices by building end-to-end capabilities that support coordinated development of chips, devices, and the cloud", he said. All that's left now is to see just how well Kirin 970 performs when it will be installed on Huawei's upcoming Mate 10 flagship smartphone.

In addition to Huawei, Xiaomi is another Chinese company which has chip innovation ability, which has poured more than 1 billion yuan ($0.15billion) into its chip business and launched its own in-house chipset Surge S1 in February.