Huawei’s Snapdragon 855-rival, Kirin 990 announced for India; to be available on Mate 30 series

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New Delhi | Published: September 18, 2019 6:35:55 PM

Kirin 990 is built using the 7-nanometre+ EUV manufacturing process and counters Snapdragon 855 SoC

Huawei has announced it’s bringing the Kirin 990 processor to India as the questions on its growth in the country intensify. The Chinese telecommunications giant is in the dire straits over trade with the US companies, which is parallelly affecting Huawei’s business with other countries including India. As the company prepares for total independence from the US companies – it already has an Android replacement called HarmonyOS, it becomes necessary for Huawei to pitch its products in different markets, underscoring privacy and anti-espionage.

The Kirin 990 processor is a watered-down variant of the Kirin 990 5G, which will likely debut on the Mate 30 series that is slated to launch on Thursday, September 19 in an event in Munich, Germany. Everything is the same on the said variant except for 5G capabilities that have been deactivated for the Indian market until the next-generation wireless technology is rolled out. Mate 30 series is expected to release in India after the global unveiling.

Huawei is touting Kirin 990 as world’s first mobile System on Chip (SoC) to be integrated with 10.3 billion transistors. Its prequel Kirin 980 had 6.9 billion transistors, which is significantly lower in numbers comparatively. What makes Kirin 990 different from other chipsets that have launched recently is the 5G modem – Balong 5000 – that has been integrated in a non-standalone (NSA) setup, in addition to the standalone configuration that is found on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and Samsung’s Exynos 9825 processor that require the 5G modem to be fitted on top.

However, Samsung announced its Exynos 980 processor will end its reliance on Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 modem and will get the 5G modem integrated within.

Kirin 990 is built using the 7-nanometre+ EUV manufacturing process, which ensures encapsulation of a high number of transistors in a smaller area. Balong 5000 modem is claimed to provide a peak downlink speed of 2.3Gbps and uplink speed of 1.25Gbps. Notably, the speeds mentioned are a result of limited tests under controlled environments, but Huawei is making claims that the chip’s real-world performance will be on par. The Kirin 990 will use bandwidth part technology to consume less power while rendering optimum network strength, Huawei told FE Tech.

As OEMs rally ahead in the race for implementing AI and ML into almost all products, Huawei is using dual NPUs that leverage Artificial Intelligence capabilities to allocate resources based on the task the user throws at the phone. The NPU is built on the Da Vinci architecture. The main vault of the chipset has eight cores – two ultra-large, two large, and four small – that deliver a maximum frequency of 2.86GHz.

For graphics, Kirin 990 is coupled with a Mali-G76 GPU that has 16 cores – four times more than what the Kirin 980 has. The Kirin 990 also uses block-matching and 3D filtering (BM3D) noise reduction method for photos and videos. Huawei claims the Kirin 990 can produce photographs with the quality close to that provided on DSLR cameras.

Commenting on the launch of Kirin 990 in India, Tornado Pan, country manager for consumer business at Huawei Brand, said, “As one of Huawei’s key markets, Customer-centric innovation is at the heart of everything we do in India. We have always believed in bringing the very best to our consumers by continuously focusing on innovation and making the experience better, every single time. The Kirin 990 is the very pinnacle of smartphone technology today and will leapfrog consumers into a new era of 5G. We are glad to announce a chipset that will revolutionise the way people use their smartphones.”

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