Huawei unveiled Kirin 970, the world’s first mobile chipset equipped with a built-in arithmetic and logical unit (ALU) for artificial intelligence (AI). The company announced at IFA 2017 that its new high-end smartphone equipped with the chipset will make its debut next month.
The ALU used in the Kirin 970 processor is a neural network processing unit (NPU). According to Huawei, the NPU’s processing capacity and energy efficiency are 25 times and 50 times those of an average CPU, respectively. “The NPU of Kirin 970 consumes only 0.19% of a battery to recognize 1,000 pictures and is capable of recognizing 2,000 images per minute,” it said, adding, “This chip speed is five times those of iPhone’s and Galaxy’s.”
The fingernail-sized Kirin 970 processor, in the meantime, has 5.5 billion transistors and is produced by TSMC’s 10 nm process. Its energy efficiency and processing capacity are 150% and 120% of those of its predecessor Kirin 960, respectively. An octa-core CPU, a 12-core GPU and dual image signal processors are applied for a quicker reaction and clear imaging at a low level of illumination. It also supports 4.5G LTE by combining 4X4 MIMO, 256 QAM and three-band carrier aggregation and comes with a 1.2Gbps Cat 18 modem, which doubles its transmission speed from the predecessor’s 600 Mbps.
The Huawei Mate 10, which is scheduled to be unveiled in Munich on October 16, is likely to become the first phone equipped with Kirin 970. “The processor is the world’s first AI computing platform for use in smartphones and a perfect on-device AI solution,” said Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO Richard Yu, continuing, “Smartphones combined with AI computing will be capable of performing real-time image processing, low-power augmented reality, accurate language recognition, etc.”
Huawei’s AI services are likely to be provided based on a combination between on-device and cloud techniques. In addition, the new processor and the new phone of Huawei can boost the presence of Chinese companies in the industry. Baidu, Alibaba and many more are already expanding their research on AI and the Chinese government released a series of plans in July this year to take the lead in the global AI industry by 2030.