While several semiconductor companies already released 5G modems, these chips are installed separately from the main processor. For example, smartphones with the Snapdragon 855 chipset have to include a separate Snapdragon X50 modem to make the handsets 5G-capable.
In contrast, handsets with Kirin 985, which will likely include the Huawei Mate 30 series, will support 5G networks out of the box without the need for separate modems. Another advantage of featuring built-in modems is that it reduces the amount of space occupied by communications chips, resulting in bigger space available for other handset components like batteries.
The recent report also confirms previous rumors, stating that the Kirin 985 will be fabricated using the 7-nanometer process node from TSMC. Earlier reports already mentioned that the Kirin 985 will feature a 10 to 20-percent improvement in performance due to higher clock speeds achieved by the upcoming processor. However, the latest report also mentions that the use of 7-nanometer process node also increases the transistor density of the chipset by 20-percent, which could have possibly allowed Huawei to include its 5G modem with the chipset.
Huawei will also take advantage of the Flip-Chip Package-on-Package technology, which allows for the vertical stacking of transistors in a chip. One of the primary benefits of utilizing this technology is its improved dissipation of power, which means that the chipset will likely produce less heat during its operation.
Even though smaller process nodes help reduce the power consumption of the chipset, which should result in lower heat production, the more intensive computations required for 5G communications and applications will still result in the processor generating a considerable amount of heat. The Flip-Chip technology should help decrease the heat generation of the device, which should reduce the incidences of throttling.
Interestingly, if reports are confirmed, Huawei will be ahead of the competition in terms of developing chipsets with 5G modems. Rumors already emerged about Qualcomm's upcoming flagship chipset lineup, which will likely be called the Snapdragon 865, and reports indicate that the handset makers will still have to install separate 5G modems for their handsets to support next-generation networks.
However, a recent report claims that Qualcomm is also developing its chipset with a 5G modem, albeit the SoC will likely be a part of the Snapdragon 700-series processors. Given its branding, smartphone makers will likely incorporate the chipset in mid-range handsets that will become available in the first half of 2020.
Earlier reports already indicated that Huawei will provide more information about the Kirin 985 chipsets in the third quarter of 2019, although the mass production of the chipset will reportedly commence in the second quarter of the year.
Recent rumors claim that the Huawei Mate 30 will feature the Kirin 985 chipset. The Chinese tech firm will reportedly launch three handsets as part of the Mate 30 series. Among the models that Huawei may unveil are the flagship Mate 30 and the Mate 30 Pro as well as the mid-range Mate 30 Lite. According to recent rumors, the upcoming smartphones will sport a similar design to the P30 series handsets.