Huawei unveils faster phone chip it says can beat Apple, Samsung

On Saturday, a top executive of Huawei said that the company intends to use artificial intelligence-powered features including instant image recognition to take on rivals Apple and Samsung next month during the launch of its new flagship phone.

The chief executive of Huawei’s consumer business, Richard Yu, unveiled a powerful new mobile phone chip that Huawei is betting on for the Mate 10, its upcoming flagship, and several other high-end phones to deliver lower power consumption and faster processing.

Yu confirmed that on October 16, Huawei would introduce the Mate 10, and the Mate 10 Pro, its sister phone, in Munich. However, he refused to detail new feature. But a blog predicts that the phones are anticipated to boast large, 6-inch-plus full-screen displays.

Yu announced that Artificial intelligence (AI) built into its new chips could help make phones more personalised, or predict the actions and interests of their users.

He added that AI could heed voice commands, enable real-time language translation, or make use of augmented reality, which overlays sounds, videos, texts, and graphics on real-world images that phone users see in front of them.

The chief executive believes that the speed and low power of the new Kirin 970 chip can translate into features that will give its phones an advantage over Samsung’s range of top-line phones announced this year, and Apple’s iPhone 8 series which is set to be introduced on September 12. Behind Samsung and Apple, Huawei is the world’s No. 3 smartphone maker.

“Compared with Samsung and Apple, we have advantages,” declared Yu in an interview during the annual IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin. “Users are in for much faster (feature) performance, longer battery life and more compact design.”

The company affirms that its newly announced Kirin 970 chip will conserve battery life on phones by up to 50 percent.

Huawei says that the new chip is the first Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for smartphones. It combines graphics, image, digital signal processing power, and classic computing that normally required separate chips, consuming more space and making interactions between features between phones slower.

Huawei also aims to utilise the Kirin chips to differentiate its phones from a vast sea of rivals, which include Samsung, who mostly rely on Snapdragon chips from its rival Qualcomm, the leader in mobile chip design. Huawei and Apple are the only major phone makers that rely on their own core processors.

Huawei’s HiSilicon chip design business designed the 970. It was built using the most advanced 10-nanometre production lines of TSMC, a contract manufacturer.