Rumors from China say that the new SoC from HiSilicon, named Kirin 990 chipset, will be launching the first quarter of 2019. The Kirin 990 will be manufactured using the second generation 7nm process technology of the Taiwanese foundry TSMC and HiSilicon, the Huawei semiconductor subsidiary of the Chinese technology company, working with TSMC for testing and developing SoC. The more advanced production technology to be used for the production of the Kirina 990 offers 20% higher transistor density, 10% lower power consumption, and 10% improved overall performance compared to the first generation 7m chipset chip produced by TSMC. The report further claims that each test that these two companies spend is $ 200 million, which means the current $ 29 million exchange rate.
Recent reports claim that the Kirin 990 chipset will still contain ARM Cortex A76 64-bit CPUs located in the Kirin 980, and therefore users should expect similar performance between the two chipsets. However, the key difference between the two chipsets is the inclusion of the Balong 5000 5G modem in Kirin 990 SoC. Huawei announced the Balong 5000 modem with the Kirin 980 chipset during the IFA 2018 event, though it currently has little information on performance and modem specifications. For comparison, the Kirin 980 includes a 4G modem with support for LTE Category 21 and can deliver a maximum transmission speed of 1.4 Gbps.
background: Larger semiconductor companies are already working to include the 5G modem in their chip bidding. Qualcomm will allegedly allow manufacturers to pair up with the upcoming chipset offering, Snapdragon 8150 SoC, with its 5G modem, Snapdragon X50. Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon X50 in October last year and is supposed to provide a gigabit download speed of 28 GHz. Meanwhile, another semiconductor company, Intel, also last year introduced its new 5G modem, Intel XMM 8060. This modem is not only working with the mmWave spectrum but is also compatible with frequencies below 6 GHz. Lower frequencies offer greater coverage and better penetration in space than the mmWave spectrum. MediaTek also revealed its 5G modem offer, the Helio M70, at the beginning of this year. This modem will also be manufactured using a 7nm TSMC processor, and MediaTek claims the chip can deliver up to 5 Gbps download speeds. Apart from the development of the modem, semiconductor companies also work on antenna solutions that help solve some of the key issues of using the mmWave spectrum.
The number of smartphones manufacturers has also announced that next year they will be releasing smartphones capable of 5G. Huawei is expected to launch a 5G-capable handset that also has a folding screen in mid 2019, and likely to feature the Kirin 990 sports chips while OnePlus has confirmed it will release the 5G smartphone next year. Meanwhile, Samsung has also promulgated the release of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus that can be connected to 5G networks. OPPO is also actively involved in the development of 5G smart phones and has built several research centers dedicated to product development that support 5G.
Striker: As a number of operators around the world are starting to build 5G networks, next-generation communications standard support becomes an important feature for leading smartphones to be released next year. The development of 5S-capable chipsets and antenna solutions is required by the manufacturers of devices that offer this functionality. However, users still can not fully utilize the increased speeds and reduced latencies offered by the 5G network, especially since carriers are likely to have limited applications of 5G base stations and small cells in the near future.