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Kirin 970: Huawei is putting AI in its new chip

Those who were expecting to see the Huawei Mate 10 at IFA 2017 will be disappointed, but we knew that long before the show. But, there's a part of the new flagship from the Chinese manufacturer which is being shown off in Berlin: the new Kirin 970 processor, its first chip with artificial intelligence.

When Huawei CEO Richard Yu enters the stage in Berlin, he usually has a smartphone, a smartwatch or another new device in his hand. Today, things are different, because Yu appeared as Keynote speaker at the exhibition in Berlin and his presentation was devoted to the subject of artificial intelligence - and not in the abstract. With the new Kirin 970 SoC from Hisilicon, which Huawei is promoting at every corner at IFA 2017, the Chinese firm has the first smartphone chip packing this kind of AI solution.

More power for the flagships

In essence, the Kirin 970 is an improved version of the Kirin 960, which powers the current Huawei flagships, the Mate 9 and P10. There are still eight cores, while the number of graphics cores of the Hisilicon increased to twelve. Here's what we know of the technical specs thus far:

  • Built using a 10 nanometer process
  • 5.5 billion transistors in a 1 square cm area
  • 8-core CPU (4xA53, 4xA73, max. 2.4 GHz)
  • 12-core GPU (Mali G72MP12)
  • LTE Cat. 18 mit bis zu 1.2 GBit/s
  • Dual ISP for image processing
  • Mobile AI Computing Architecture NPU (Neural Network Processing Unit)

Even if details like the type of processor cores and the clock speed are still missing, the technical data is nevertheless quite impressive. With the number of transistors, the Kirin 970 is significantly ahead of the Snapdragon 835, which has only about three billion, and the Apple A10. The most interesting detail, however, is the last point on the list - the Mobile AI NPU, the artificial intelligence. As the magazine Winfuture has learned in advance, this technology is intended to ensure that certain tasks can be completed up to 25 times faster than with a conventional CPU, while consuming 50 times less energy.

The Huawei AI Engine works like most AI systems based on neural networks that are capable of independent learning. The Kirin 970's new technology is the classic entry and exit of speech, the automatic recognition of people and objects in photos and videos, voice interaction, and any kind of intelligent photography.

Starting with the Huawei Mate 10

Huawei doesn't make a secret of the fact that the Mate 10 is being presented in October. The new flagship is, like its predecessor, an exciting candidate for the best phablet of the year. The new AI capabilities won't only be for the new Mate 10 and its processor, to the contrary, Huawei will further refine it and bring it to other chips and smartphones. In the near future, HiAI Mobile Computing Architecture of the Kirin 970 will be reserved for high-end smartphones.

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