Despite well documented recent troubles, Huawei appears unscathed at IFA 2019. The release of the flagship Kirin 990 5G dual SoC is a substantial step forward for mobile processor design and a boon for Huawei, especially with the release of the Huawei Mate 30 firmly on the horizon.
The biggest draw here is the integration of a 5G modem into the Kirin 990 SoC. The 7nm processor has over 10 billion transistors, is a massive 36% smaller than the previous generation, and integrates AI tech to make the Kirin 990 series extremely power efficient. The Kirin 990 series also uses a combination of “big” and “tiny” cores to help Huawei devices cope with strenuous tasks like mobile video editing or gaming, with the tiny cores taking care of the smaller tasks and remain power efficient.
In terms of hardware, the Kirin 990 5G has two big cores with 2.86GHz clock speed, two with 2.36GHz, along with four tiny cores with 1.95Ghz. The combination makes the Kirin 990 5G Huawei’s most powerful mobile CPU released to date. Furthermore, the Kirin 990 5G packs a 16-core Mali-G76 GPU. The Mali-G76 adds 6 cores from the previous generation, providing a 6% performance boost, but also a whopping 20% boost to power efficiency.
The Kirin 990 5G supports sub-6GHz networking on both the SA and NSA architectures, integrating the Balong 5G multi-mode chipset into the all new Da Vinci architecture.
Interestingly, Huawei is still launching a 4G “only” version of the Kirin 990 series. 5G adoption is increasing but remains low overall. Therefore, for the current time, consumers can still opt for a slightly less powerful chip. Overall, the Huawei Kirin 990 5G looks an exceptional piece of hardware, pushing mobile processor design firmly toward the future. Huawei are launching the new (and sublime looking) Mate 30 Pro in Munich on September 19th, and the Kirin 990 5G will be the powerhouse bringing the new device to life.
As a final note, Huawei also announced a major update to their wireless earbud range, known as FreeBuds. The Huawei FreeBuds 3are powered by Huawei’s new Kirin A1 processor for wearable devices and now feature noise cancelling technology, something still quite rare in other wireless earbud options, such as Apple’s AirPods.
Huawei say the noise cancelling tech can remove around 15 decibels of external noise, allowing wearers to hold a conversation via the FreeBuds “at speeds of up to 20km/h on a bike.” The FreeBuds 3 lineup also feature dual channel Bluetooth connectivity, helping decrease overall power use by nearly 50%, as well as decreasing latency around 30%.
Huawei may well be having a tricky time in other areas, but their tech innovating shines through once more.