Huawei's latest Kirin 990 flagship chipset will include a version with a built-in 5G modem, as well as offering a speed increase over its predecessor, the company announced on the scene of IFA 2019 today. The 7nm processor includes a modem, which Huawei says can offer a maximum download speed of 2.3Gbps and a maximum upload speed of 1.25Gbps, along with eight cores of the ARM Cortex processor.
In addition to saving space, Huawei says that using a single chip should make its phones much more energy efficient than having a processor and a separate modem.
The company announced the new processor just a few short days after Samsung announced its own 5G chipset, the Exynos 980. Qualcomm is not expected to release a combined processor and 5G modem by next year. Chipmaker MediaTek also has its own 7nm 5G chipset, which it announced back in May.
Like the Samsung Exynos chip, the Kirin 990 5G version does not support mmWave 5G. The company said it chose to skip the technology because it is mainly used in the US, where Huawei does not currently sell its devices. Instead, it will focus on the sub-GGHz variant 5G, which is used more widely in the rest of the world.
The Kirin 990 relies heavily on the design of Arm chips for both its CPU and GPU elements. However, Huawei's relationship with the British chip designer was thrown into disarray earlier this year when the US imposed sanctions on the Chinese company. Shortly after the decision, BBC News reported that ARM instructed its employees to sever ties with Huawei. It is currently unclear what impact this will have on future Huawei internal processors.