We have new rumors surrounding Huawei’s next flagship smartphone, which will reportedly debut with a new SoC, the Kirin 9010. According to the latest reports from the well-known Chinese leaker “Pikachu,” the upcoming flagship smartphone from Huawei, the Huawei P70, will arrive with a Kirin 9010 SoC. Perhaps the most interesting aspect is that it has already allegedly passed initial tests. Additionally, it is indicated that Huawei will also launch a vertically folding smartphone, but it will maintain the Kirin 9000.
The most striking thing may be that the Kirin 9010 would once again put Huawei and China under the microscope. Many questions remain to be answered, and the performance of this silicon compared to the rest of the international competition is yet to be seen.
How is it possible that Huawei has a 3nm Kirin 9010 SoC?
We have to go back to January 2021, when it was reported that Huawei’s chip designer, HiSilicon, was already talking about producing 3nm chips during the second half of 2022. And indeed, the chip mentioned three years ago corresponds to the same name, Kirin 9010. These chips were supposed to be manufactured by TSMC using its N3 manufacturing process, also known as 3nm.
According to reports at the time, this new node would allow Huawei to access chips that would save between 25% and 30% of energy compared to the 5nm process, with a modest performance improvement of 10% to 15%. While it was rumored at the time that the Huawei P50 would use this Kirin 9010, it seems that after delays linked to bans, it will finally arrive in the Huawei P70.
A lot has happened since then. The Kirin 9010 was originally conceived as a 3nm chip, but it cannot be confirmed that it will finally reach this manufacturing process. It all depends on whether TSMC manufactured these chips at the time and managed to ship them before the ban, or if Huawei has machinery capable of producing 3nm chips, albeit on a small scale. The 3nm process seems too good to be true, so perhaps we could be looking at a Kirin 9010 adapted to a lithography ranging between 7 and 5 nm in the best case scenario, with assistance from the local foundry SMIC.
The Huawei P70 will boast being the first smartphone from the brand manufactured 100% in China
Regardless of the lithography used for the Kirin 9010 SoC, the Huawei P70 is even more significant: it will be the first smartphone completely manufactured in China. This means that every component of the device has been made in China, including the SoC, display, memory chips, storage, camera sensors, and battery.
Additionally, the HarmonyOS Next operating system will be featured. This aims to break any ties with Android, adapting better to Huawei’s specific needs. It will also follow in the footsteps of iOS, seeking to establish and dominate the Asian market. The Huawei P70 promises to be a serious contender for the best flagship smartphone in the market, with rumored features such as a 1-inch main sensor, 5G connectivity, and a dedicated NPU for AI acceleration. The device is expected to be announced in March.