Huawei has announced the launch of its latest system on a chip (SoC), Kirin 980, which the company say will bring about the next evolution of mobile Artificial Intelligence (AI). Kirin 980 combines best-in-class performance, efficiency, connectivity features, and Dual NPU AI processing power.
CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, Richard Yu says, “last year, we showed the world the potential of On-Device AI with the Kirin 970, and this year, we’ve designed an all-round powerhouse that not only features outstanding AI capabilities, but also brings cutting-edge raw performance to consumers. Equipped with all-new CPU, GPU and Dual NPU, the Kirin 980 is the ultimate engine to power next-generation productivity and entertainment applications.”
Kirin 980 enables quicker app launch times, better multi-tasking and a generally smoother user experience. The cutting edge TSMC 7nm process technology enables Kirin 980 to pack 6.9 billion transistors within a 1cm die size, 1.6 times of the previous generation and is also the first SoC to embed Cortex-A76 based cores and uses an intelligent Flex-scheduling mechanism that creates an energy-efficient architecture. This solution designates the large high-performance cores to handle intensive workloads while providing sustained performance and ultra-efficiency cores to tackle everyday activities with extreme power.
Debuting with the Kirin 980, Mali-G76 offers 46 percent greater graphics processing power at 178 percent improved power efficiency over the previous generation to deliver unparalleled gaming experiences. Mali-G76 also features an innovative clock boosting technology that utilizes AI to intelligently identify gaming workloads and adjust resource allocation for optimal gaming performance.
The latest Kirin SoC represents a new era of On-Device AI. The synergy between the Dual NPU results in an enhanced image recognition and can recognize up to 4,500 images per minute. Additionally, 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.
In pursuit of the best smartphone photography experience, Huawei integrated its proprietary fourth-generation ISP into the SoC. The new ISP offers a 46 percent increase in data throughout and provides better support for multi-camera configurations, as well as an all-new HDR color reproduction technology that can manipulate picture contrast to highlight objects on various parts of an image and offers better quality low-light scenarios and utilizes the Multi-pass noise reduction solution that accurately removes artifacts without scrubbing away image details. Kirin 980 adopts a new pipeline dedicated to processing video captures, allowing the camera module to shoot videos with 33 percent shorter delay. Additionally, ISP can recognize a subject with 97.4 percent accuracy with improved motion tracking.
To deliver the best connectivity to users of Kirin 980-powered devices, Huawei integrated a modem supporting LTE Cat.21 with a peak download speed of 1.4Gbps. 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, regardless of where they are.
The next-generation AI experience is around the corner, with the company planning to launch the first Kirin 980-powered Mate Series device, which is scheduled to arrive in October.