Huawei launched the Kirin 990 flagship mobile SoC in September. Three months later, leaks of its next-gen Kirin chipsets have sprung up revealing some interesting pieces of information. Apparently, the successor to Kirin 990 will be called Kirin 1020, although some reports suggest it might be called Kirin 1000. Huawei also has a midrange SoC in the works, supposedly called Kirin 820. Whatever the naming scheme might be, it looks certain that the new chipsets will bring significant performance and efficiency improvements over their predecessors.
According to a new leak from Slashleaks contributor Teme, the Kirin 1020 will be built on a 5nm EUV process and will integrate the ARM Cortex-A77 CPU architecture. This promises a significant boost in performance as compared to the Kirin 990, which is built on a 7nm EUV process and Cortex-A76 core architecture. According to Teme, the Kirin 1020 will have a 50-percent performance improvement over the Kirin 990.
Such a performance improvement would give Kirin 1020 a solid lead over the likes of Snapdragon 865, Exynos 990, and MediaTek Dimesity 1000. All of these chips have been officially announced to feature Cortex-A77 cores on 7nm processes.
The leaker also disclosed that the Kirin 1020 will be a 5G-only chipset and comes with an integrated 5G modem. It cannot be used to make a 4G-only phone. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865 is also a 5G-only chipset, though it needs a separate 5G modem, the Snapdragon X55. There's no modem on board the Snapdragon 865 and it can’t be paired with a 4G modem. Samsung's Exynos 990 also uses a separate modem, while the Dimensity 1000 comes with an integrated 5G modem.
The Kirin 1020 will start making its way into devices beginning with the Huawei Mate 40 series in the second half of 2020. Huawei's P40 series will reportedly use the Kirin 990 5G chipset.
Kirin 820 brings 5G to the masses
In addition to the Kirin 1020 flagship SoC, Huawei is also working on a mid-range chipset. The successor to the Kirin 810, the Kirin 820 will also feature a built-in 5G modem. It'll be based on 7nm technology. Not much else is known about this chipset. However, it's certain that Huawei's looking to bring 5G to the masses with the Kirin 820. It'll reportedly feature either on Huawei Nova 7 or Huawei 10X first.
Having said that, it’s still early days and there is always the possibility of a dud leak. As much as the specs seem realistic, there's no way to confirm any of this information. Plenty can change by the time these chips become production-ready. We’ll have to wait and see what Huawei has up its sleeves.