Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei is allegedly looking to continue taking the fight to Qualcomm on the mobile chips front with a new HiSilicon Kirin 1020 SoC being prepped for launch alongside the arrival of 5G. Based on current estimates, that would suggest that the new chipset will arrive on the market shortly, in either late 2018 or early 2019. Moreover, that should indicate that the chipset will be 5G-ready. That's not the only focus of the new silicon, according to recent reports either. Although HiSilicon's previous SoC, the Kirin 970, wasn't able to beat out its competitor's Snapdragon 845, it came relatively close and actually managed the feat in preliminary testing. The new chipset is said to be capable of more than doubling the AnTuTu benchmark score earned by the A.I.-driven Kirin 970. In fact, sources say that the Kirin 1020 will be able to push its benchmark scores up to at least 400,000. That's compared to the average of around 170,000 earned by the Kirin 970.
In the meantime, the Huawei-owned chip maker is also rumored to have Kirin 980 is already reportedly in production for use in Huawei and subsidiary Honor's upcoming devices. That SoC's alleged benchmarks would also place it well ahead of Qualcomm's chip with a score in excess of 350,000. While the difference between those scores and those expected from the Kirin 1020 are comparatively small, both chips appear to be in a position to pull ahead of the competition, with one caveat. HiSilicon SoCs are only used in Huawei and Honor handsets with little sign of that changing for the foreseeable future. Although its parent company is a global leader in mobile broadband and networking equipment, it has also experienced a fair share of controversy over the past few months.
Meanwhile, Qualcomm has significant advantages, in addition to the fact that power and performance aren't always the best determining factor for market leadership. Like other OEMs creating components for Android device makers such as Samsung, it has its own new chipsets currently in the works. Moreover, chips made by the U.S.-based manufacturer have dominated the smartphone market alongside those manufactured by MediaTek. Despite speculation, a much higher performance SoC doesn't necessitate success for Huawei.