Huawei, the Chinese tech giant, has been facing many challenges in the global market due to the US sanctions and the shortage of chip supply. However, the company is not giving up on its smartphone and chipmaking businesses. According to recent rumors and leaks, Hua5wei is preparing to launch new Kirin chips and Mate 60 smartphones in 2023. Here’s what we know so far about these products.
New Kirin Chips: A Comeback or a Farewell?
Huawei’s HiSilicon division, which designs its own Kirin chips, has been severely affected by the US restrictions that prevent it from accessing advanced semiconductor technology and manufacturing. The last Kirin chip that Huawei produced was the Kirin 9000, which powered the Mate 50 series in 2020. Since then, Huawei has been relying on its existing stock of chips and some modified Snapdragon chips that do not support 5G.
However, some sources on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, have suggested that Huawei is working on new Kirin chips for 2023. These chips are said to have two possible configurations: one with Cortex-X3, Cortex-A715 and Cortex-A510 CPU cores and Immortalis-G715 GPU; and another with Cortex-X1, Cortex-A78 and Cortex-A55 CPU cores and Mali G710 GPU. These configurations indicate that Huawei is aiming to use the latest and most powerful CPU and GPU architectures from Arm.
Another Weibo post claimed that there are three new Kirin models: the Kirin 720, the Kirin 830 and the Kirin 9100. The first two are expected to debut later this year, while the Kirin 9100 is expected to launch next year, possibly along with the Mate 60 series.
The question is: how will Huawei be able to manufacture these chips without violating the US export rules? One possibility is that Huawei will use SMIC, China’s leading foundry, which has developed its own N+2 (7nm) node. Another possibility is that Huawei will stack two 14nm chips on top of each other to achieve 7nm-like performance with low power consumption. This technique is said to use a special metal bonding technology that can connect the two chips without soldering.
However, these solutions are not without challenges and risks. SMIC’s N+2 node is still behind TSMC’s 5nm node in terms of performance and efficiency. Moreover, SMIC itself is subject to US sanctions that limit its access to advanced equipment and materials. Stacking two 14nm chips may also pose problems in terms of heat dissipation, reliability and quality control.
Therefore, it remains to be seen whether Huawei can successfully launch its new Kirin chips in 2023. Some analysts believe that this could be Huawei’s last attempt to revive its chipmaking business before it exits the market.
New HUAWEI Mate 60 Series: A New Design Language?
Huawei’s Mate series is known for its premium design and features that cater to high-end users. The Mate 50 series, which was launched in January this year, featured a circular camera island with XMAGE branding, a vegan leather option and a Kunlun glass screen that offers better protection than Gorilla Glass.
The Mate 60 series, which is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of this year or early next year, may bring a new design language for the flagship line. According to some leaked images from what appears to be an assembly plant, the Mate 60 series will have a dual-color back panel with different finishes. The top part of the panel will be frosted, while the bottom part will be clear or gray. The camera island will also be circular, but with a different arrangement of lenses.
The images also show a render of the phone in hand, which looks very clean and polished. However, this could be a mockup based on what we should expect from the Mate 60 series. The actual specifications and features of the cameras are still unknown at this point.
One thing that we can be sure of is that the Mate 60 series will run on HarmonyOS, Huawei’s own operating system that was officially launched in June this year. HarmonyOS is designed to offer a seamless user experience across different devices and scenarios. It also supports distributed applications that can run on multiple devices simultaneously.
HarmonyOS is Huawei’s answer to Google’s Android OS, which it can no longer use fully due to the US ban. Huawei claims that HarmonyOS is faster, smoother and more secure than Android. However, it also faces the challenge of attracting developers and users to its ecosystem, especially outside of China.
Huawei is reportedly working on new Kirin chips and Mate 60 smartphones for 2023. These products could be Huawei’s last chance to regain its position in the global smartphone and chip markets, which have been severely affected by the US sanctions and the chip shortage. However, Huawei also faces many uncertainties and difficulties in developing and manufacturing these products. Whether Huawei can pull off a comeback or a farewell remains to be seen.