Published in AI

Smartphone AI NPU headed for mainstream

by on03 January 2019

Breaking out of the CPU, GPU, and DSP

Huawei HiSilicon, Qualcomm and MediaTek AI Neural Processing Units (NPU) might become a new mainstream mobile AP architecture beyond CPU, GPU, and DSP.

Digitimes deep throats claim that NPU is starting to perform independently to power AI-based smartphone models to supply consumer-based AI.

MediaTek has pioneered the adoption of NPU architecture in its Helio P series mobile SOCs. The company has newly kicked off volume production of Helio P90 solutions with a dedicated NPU for shipment in 2019.

China's HiSilicon followed suit, incorporating NPU for the first time into its Kirin 980 SoCs for Huawei's new-generation smartphones in the second half of 2018. This allowed Huawei to enjoy better smartphone shipment performance than most peers in 2018 and inspired the firm to set an ambitious handset shipment goal of over 200 million units for 2019.

Qualcomm has inaugurated the adoption of NPU architecture for its latest mobile AP platform Snapdragon 855, significantly saving power consumption and upgrading AI experience for consumers. The chipmaker is likely to incorporate NPU into all its Snapdragon chip platforms in 2019.

MediaTek, HiSilicon and Qualcomm together dominate over 70 percent of the global mobile chipset market, and this will generate more NPU momentum, with Samsung Electronics and China's Unisoc likely to adopt NPU in their new mobile SoCs in 2019.


Last modified on 03 January 2019
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