Today Twitter user @Rodent950 tipped off that Huawei, despite the ban put in place, is working on the 3nm Kirin 9010. The ban by the U.S. makes it to where companies using American-made technology to produce smartphone chips can not supply Huawei. Apple and Huawei both released 5nm chips this year. To stay competitive Huawei needs to keep moving forward with advanced chipsets.
As PhoneArena explains the 5nm process uses a lower number of process nodes. This allows for a higher number of transistors to fit inside a square nm. The lower the number of process nodes then the higher the efficiency of the chip is.
Apple’s A13 Bionic chip was based on TSMC’s 7nm process node. The A14 which followed used the 5nm process node also produced by TSMC. Huawei was the second OEM to use TSMC’s 5nm process nodes before being hit by the U.S. bans. Huawei ordered the Kirin 9000 in bulk before the ban hit.
As chipmakers aim to create powerful smartphone chips the use of TSMC’s 3nm production will be important. Apple will surely reserve as much of TSMC’s production as possible to produce their next-generation A-series and M-series chips.
Huawei's 3nm Kirin 9010 could be on the way
Now, the tipster shared a tweet today with a picture of a Kirin 9000 chip accompanied by some text. The text simply says “Next Gen Kirin (9010) is 3nm”. Unfortunately, there is no more information with the tweet. There is no information on how Huawei will do this, or what company will produce the next-gen chipset.
As mentioned, the U.S. ban blocks Huawei from receiving chips that are made using American-made technology. Even though Huawei designs the Kirin chips itself, TSMC uses American-made technology to produce these chips. However, Huawei’s biggest roadblock with its legal troubles with the U.S. could clear up soon.
U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration have been on the warpath against Huawei. With President-Elect Joe Biden set to take power on January 20th, the new President could take it easier on Huawei. This is one possibility that could happen.
How Huawei is producing its next-generation 3nm Kirin 9010 is a mystery. Many thought that the U.S. ban would affectively end Huawei, but that has not been the case. Despite a lack of Google services and a constraint on chipsets, Huawei has continued to produce solid devices.
These devices helped Huawei to hold onto the number two spot worldwide. Will Huawei continue to hold onto this spot is hard to tell, but the company doesn’t seem ready to throw in the towel.