Kirin 970 Processor with Improved AI Performance Announced at IFA 2017

IFA 2017
Huawei unveils AI-equipped Kirin 970 processor at IFA 2017
By Alex Dobie
Saturday Sep 2 2017 at 8:50 am EDT 


After plenty of rumors and an unofficial reveal, Huawei's Kirin 970 SoC finally made its official debut at IFA 2017.

CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, Richard Yu, said the new Kirin 970 is a first in a wave of new advances that will deliver AI features to our smartphones, and push them past the competition.

The main highlight of the Kirin 970 is its Neural Processing Unit or NPU, which will bring AI features to the chipset and is capable of performing AI tasks better than any other chipsets in the market. The all-new Kirin 970 chipset will be the successor to last year's Kirin 960. To add to this, there's 8-core CPU and 12-core GPU with 5.5 million transistors - all in an area of one square centimeter. But unlike its competitors' virtual assistants, which collect and gather information in the internet cloud, the prowess of Huawei's AI assistant lies in processing data on the smartphone, rather than in the cloud. The Kirin 970 has a dual image signal processor, which should focus faster and be more responsive.

No word yet on which devices will be the first to utilize Huawei's Kirin 970 or when they'll arrive. In a benchmark image recognition test, the Kirin 970 processed 2,000 images per minute, Huawei also said. Huawei is committed to turning smart devices into intelligent devices by building end-to-end capabilities that support coordinated development of chips, devices, and the cloud. The company had been teasing the release of this device for months with posts on social media which hinted that Huawei is looking at AI as the next big thing. The Kirin 970 is based on an all-new "Heterogeneous Computing Architecture" which will provide a 25x boost in performance and 50x better efficiency than any other Cortex-A73 chipset.

Cloud AI has seen broad application, but user experience still has room for improvement, including latency, stability, and privacy, according to the vendor.