The upcoming Kirin 670 chip from Huawei’s semiconductor subsidiary HiSilicon will feature a neural processing unit meant to enable on-device artificial intelligence computing on Android mid-rangers, according to latest reports from China. The silicon is said to be manufactured on TSMC’s 12nm FinFET process node and is expected to sport a hexa-core processor with four Cortex-A53 cores designed for energy efficiency and a dual-core Cortex-A72 cluster meant for high-performance applications. The Mali G72 MP4 graphics chip is also rumored to be part of the package, with the chip apparently being positioned to take on MediaTek’s recently announced Helio P60, as well as the upper range of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 series.
On-device AI is also a major selling point of the Helio P60, whereas Qualcomm recently confirmed its AI engine will be supported by the Snapdragon 660, in addition to the last several generations of the flagship Snapdragon 800 lineup. It’s presently unclear how the NPU of the rumored Kirin 670 will fare against those solutions, though the module is likely to be similar to the one integrated into the Kirin 970, HiSilicon’s latest premium system-on-chip which debuted inside the Mate 10 lineup, becoming the company’s first piece of silicon to feature such a technology. While the Kirin 670’s NPU may not be as capable as the one found inside its more premium counterpart, it’s still expected to enable unprecedented performance on Huawei and Honor’s mid-range smartphones, with its potential benefits ranging from object recognition services and imaging improvements to more efficient data processing.
Compared to the Kirin 659, its rumored successor may mark the most significant year-on-year performance jump made by any HiSilicon mid-range chip to date. The Chinese tech giant has recently been placing a large focus on mobile photography and on-device AI as the main selling points of its new handsets, having went as far as to hook up its Mate 10 Pro to a custom-made Porsche Panamera, then taught it to drive the car by itself in order to showcase its capabilities at this year’s Mobile World Congress. The Kirin 670 may be announced as soon as this month should it end up being the chip powering the P20 Lite, the mid-range member of Huawei’s next smartphone family.