CHINESE PHONE MAKER Huawei has unveiled the Kirin 970 SoC, its first homegrown mobile processor to pack a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU).
The flagship processor, which has been designed by Huawei's HiSilicon chip design business and manufactured by TSMC, will pave the way for the "future of smartphones", according to the firm.
The Kirin 970 allows for native AI processing to be combined with cloud-based AI, while the NPU will help Huawei devices to become more intelligent and provide a more personalised experience.
This SoC will also likely power Huawei's long-rumuored virtual AI assistant, but the firm has yet to comment. Instead, the firm demonstrated the NPU's super speedy image recognition, which sees the Kirin 970 process 2,000 images per minute, faster than other mobile processors on the market.
Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, said: "As we look to the future of smartphones, we're at the threshold of an exciting new era.
"Mobile AI = On-Device AI + Cloud AI. 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. The ultimate goal is to provide a significantly better user experience.
"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."
On the specs front, the Kirin 970 is powered by an 8-core CPU and 12-core GPU, produced with a new 10nm process, and features 5.5 billion transistors packed into it. Huawei claims the chip has "25 times the performance with 50 times greater efficiency" than a quad-core Cortex-A73 processor, which means faster processing and less battery usage.
Huawei's Kirin 970 CPU is expected to make its debut inside the firm's Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro smartphones, which are tipped to arrive next month. µ
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