While MediaTek’s trotting its way into the premium smartphone market with an LTE octa-core chip later this year, Huawei’s creeping up right behind with its own octa-core offering.
Like Samsung’s newer Exynos 5 Octa variants, Huawei’s new Kirin 920 consists of quad Cortex-A15 plus quad Cortex-A7 CPUs that work simultaneously, as well as a powerful Mali-T628 GPU. But what makes this 28nm chip special is its integrated multi-mode LTE Cat 6 radio, meaning it can offer data speeds of up to 300Mbps on networks that are set up for carrier aggregation. These are already live or being tested in the likes of Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and Germany.
MediaTek’s upcoming MT6595 chip, on the other hand, only has integrated LTE Cat 4 which is capped at 150Mbps; not to mention that it packs the lesser (but more efficient) quad-A17 cores instead of quad-A15. Qualcomm may have the LTE know-how, but its SoC’s with integrated LTE Cat 6 aren’t due until 2015. As for Samsung and Intel, their SoC portfolios just lack built-in LTE in general, though the latter company is already shipping its separate LTE Cat 6 modem.
The Kirin 920 also boasts a low-power I3 sensor co-processor plus a Tensilica HIFI3 audio processor, though only real life usage will tell how effective they are. Huawei has yet to mention when will its high-end chip end up in consumer devices, but it did confirm that its 64-bit offerings have been delayed until next year. Either way, we’re pretty sure that Huawei’s own phones will get first dibs, and hopefully we’ll see them well before end of year.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the Kirin 920 stacks up against the Mediatek MT6592, Samsung Exynos 5420 and the most popular and powerful processor – Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801. It is highly possible to see manufacturers switching to Huawei if performance figures are within the Exynos’ or 801’s range, especially since it would make for a cheaper device.