Huawei designs their own SoC in-house under the brand name HiSilicon. The current HiSilicon product used in many Huawei and Honor devices is the Kirin family (similar to Snapdragon from Qualcomm). They contract the fabrication process out to other companies such as TSMC. The Kirin 970 is the company’s latest and greatest chipset, but their upcoming mid-range devices are said to be using a new, unannounced SoC. This new chip is likely to be the Kirin 670 and it’s rumored to include Huawei’s Neural Processing Unit (NPU).
Being able to offload neural network style operations to a dedicated chip can save a lot of battery life. This is why Google worked to create the Pixel Core for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL and why we’re seeing similar cores added to other SoCs as well. When Huawei introduced the Kirin 970 there was a major focus on artificial intelligence due to the NPU that is built inside the chip. If this new rumor holds true, it looks like the company wants mid-range devices to be able to leverage A.I. functionality as well.
Huawei’s current mid-range SoCs range from the Kirin 650 all the way to the Kirin 659, but the upcoming Honor 7X, Nova 3, and Honor Note 9 are said to be using this newly announced chipset. Along with the NPU, the Kirin 670 is rumored to have two Cortex-A72 cores and four Cortex A-53 cores (which puts it on par with the current Kirin 950). The new ship should be built on TSMC’s 12nm FinFet process and will also have an integrated ARM Mali G72 MP4 GPU.
We’ll have to wait and see how the Kirin 670 compares to equivalent offerings from the likes of Qualcomm and MediaTek, but this rumor shows Huawei is ticking a lot of boxes when it comes to the Kirin 670.