7 nm Kirin 980 5G-ready with support for 1.4 Gbps

As operators work with infrastructure vendors to deploy 5G with commercial activations slated to start in the U.S. later this year, chip makers are working to cement device-side support. The latest entry comes from Huawei which announced its new Cat 21 Kirin 980 this week at the IFA event in Berlin.

According to press reports, Huawei CEO Richard Yu described the Kirin 980 as “the ultimate engine to power next-generation productivity and entertainment applications. We’ve designed an all-around powerhouse that not only features outstanding AI capabilities, but also brings cutting-edge raw performance to consumers.”

The new chipset is set to power Huawei’s next flagship smartphone offering, the Mate 20, which will likely be unveiled Oct. 16 at an event in London.

On the competitive front, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 mobile platform is the go-to chipset for high-end Android phones except for those manufactured by Huawei. Snapdragon 845 features the X20 modem, which supports Cat 18 downlink and Cat 13 uplink speeds. The San Diego chipmaker earlier this month announced its sampling its next 5G system on a chip to OEMs, and is expected to official announce the Snapdragon 855 in December.

Like the Kirin 980, Qualcomm has said its forthcoming chipset is a 7 nanometer form whereas the Snapdragon 845 is 10 nanometers.

Huawei’s new SoC has an eight-core architecture, two neural processing units and upgraded Wi-Fi connectivity.

According to reports, Huawei is touting its new process as providing 20% better bandwidth and 22% lower latency than Snapdragon 845.

On the memory front, Huawei says the Kirin 980 has 20 percent better bandwidth and 22 percent lower latency than the Snapdragon 845. In practical terms, that means faster app launches across the full range of the world’s most popular apps. In gaming applications, the 980 has been shown to produce 22 percent higher frame rates than the 845, and its power consumption when gaming is said to be 32 percent lower.


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