Huawei's Kirin 990 chipset may have something that no Snapdragon SoC can offer

A YouTube video posted today by Huawei titled Huawei Kirin 990 Warm-up reveals that the chip will be introduced at the upcoming IFA show in Berlin on September 6th. Designed by the company's HiSilicon unit and manufactured by TSMC using the 7nm EUV process, the chip will be powering the Mate 30 line. And Yanmin Wang, a regional president with Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, told TechRadar that the chip will also be found in the foldable Huawei Mate X. Originally, the Kirin 980, used in the Mate 20 Pro and the P30 series, was supposed to be under the hood of the company's first foldable phone.

However, the Mate X, originally set to be released during the summer, has been twice pushed back. The first time a September launch was promised, and now it is possible that the device won't be released until November. Last month, the head of Huawei's consumer unit, Richard Yu, was photographed with a redesigned model of the Mate X sporting a new camera panel and hinge cover that is made of carbon fiber or designed to look like carbon fiber. Wang also noted that the Kirin 990 chipset will be used on Huawei's high-end phones next year, which will probably include the P40 series.

The video for the Kirin 990 specifically references 5G, the next generation in wireless connectivity. While Huawei does design its own 5G modem chips, there has been talk since late last year that Huawei will integrate a 5G modem chip with the Kirin 990. Even though ARM Holdings cut ties with Huawei following its placement on the U.S. Commerce Department's Entity List (while a U.K. company, ARM does use some U.S. technology in its chip architecture), licenses obtained before the ban was announced on May 16th are still valid. Thus, the Kirin 990 should include the Cortex-A77 CPU core and ARM's Mali-G77 GPU. And a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for AI tasks will probably be included in the Kirin 990 chipset as well.

What isn't known at the moment is whether the integrated 5G modem on the Kirin 990 SoC will support both ultra-high-band mmWave 5G networks and sub-6GHz 5G networks. Most 5G networks in the country use the latter. Low-band spectrum travels farther and penetrates buildings better than higher-frequency airwaves. However, spectrum in the mmWave frequencies have a larger capacity and offer faster speeds.

Related phones

Mate X
  • Display 8.0" 2200 x 2480 pixels
  • Camera 40 MP
  • Processor HiSilicon Kirin 980, Octa-core, 2600 MHz
  • Storage 512 GB + Nano Memory (NM)
  • Battery 4500 mAh



2. ECPirate37

Posts: 347; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

This seems very interesting. I can't wait to get the Mate X. I love my Mate 20 Pro, but that foldable phone has me so excited!

3. utopia2244

Posts: 14; Member since: Aug 13, 2015

Clickbait title, Alan friedman it is, get rid of this guy. I hate his articles and his style of writing

5. DerrekLeigh

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 24, 2019

I'm... not sure if the article actually got to the point, or just made a point completely different from what the title suggested.

8. Hamad973

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 24, 2019

I went through the article, and wasn't really able to find any clear details about what was stated in the title! Really disappointing, I regret wasting my time reading it, and will probably hesitate before opening any further Phone Arena articles if they keep using click-bait titles like this.

9. S4NDY

Posts: 265; Member since: Mar 14, 2016

your carbon fiber is a reflection of the ceiling of the airport terminal.

10. Plutonium239

Posts: 1243; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Uh, the title is misleading. I don't see mention of anything that the kirin 990 has or will have that any snapdragon does not have. Is the purpose of this article to troll readers?

11. ShadowHammer

Posts: 209; Member since: Mar 13, 2015

This article was indeed a little weird, as others have mentioned. So, is a 5G modem the feature that Snapdragons don't have? Which doesn't seem correct on the face of it, but maybe I'm missing some distinction. E.g., the modem on Snapdragons is a separate chip, rather than being embedded in the SoC?

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