The high-end Kirin 980 smartphone chip from Huawei's subsidiary HiSilicon received a likely launch date, with the Chinese technology giant now sending media invites for its IFA 2018 keynote. The world's third-largest handset manufacturer traditionally has a strong presence at the Berlin, Germany-based trade show and used the 2017 iteration of the event to announce the Kirin 970 which ended up powering the Mate 10 and P20 lineups of Android flagships. The firm is expected to continue that tradition this year and use its August 31 keynote to launch the new cutting-edge silicon that's expected to continue its strong product commitment to on-device artificial intelligence and mobile photography.
The chip that's rumored to be based on TSMC's 7nm process node has been the subject of several reports in recent months and is likely to first be commercialized inside the Mate 20 lineup of high-end Android handsets which Huawei is expected to announce in the final quarter of the year. The same silicon should eventually also make its way to the P30 smartphone series which will probably debut shortly after the next iteration of MWC, near the end of the first quarter of 2019. According to one recent leak, the Kirin 980 will feature two quad-core configurations, an energy-efficient Cortex-A55 cluster, and another set of four Cortex-A77 cores reserved for demanding use cases such as gaming. The silicon is said to have a maximum operating frequency of approximately 2.8GHz and feature ARM's Mali-G72 MP24 GPU.
While Huawei's semiconductor division has been delivering chips capable of taking on their Qualcomm- and Samsung-made peers for several years now, the tech juggernaut still has no intentions of licensing them to third parties, with several company officials saying as much earlier this year. The Kirin 980 is expected to feature a neural processing unit dedicated to on-device AI computing, with Huawei commercializing its first such module inside the Kirin 970. Huawei's subsidiary Honor is also likely to make use of the upcoming chip with at least one Android smartphone, most likely the successor to the Honor 10 which should launch in mid-2019, according to the company's existing product release patterns observed over the last several years.