Hisilicon, an affiliate of Huawei, has been developing application processors for many years. The company's early products had issues that caused resulted in poor power consumption-performance ratio. But Huawei's strategic support and continuous R&D resource investments have helped improve Hisilicon's products.
After releasing its first in-house-developed baseband-integrated AP, the Kirin 910 in 2013, Hisilicon has released the Kirin 920, the first SoC AP in the industry that supports the LTE Cat.6 standard, in 2014. With Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7's big.LITTLE core combination, the AP's computing performance is rather strong, while its independent low-power-consumption core is able to monitor the working process while the system is in hibernation. The high quality audio processing unit is also a major feature of the AP.
Digitimes Research believes the Kirin 920 will have a product lifecycle of about one year. Since Huawei is estimated to have over 20% of its shipments adopt in-house developed architectures in 2014, the Kirin 920's shipments are expected to reach 12 million units by mid-2015.
Considering the R&D investment (almost US$200 million), as well as the production costs and expenses, the Kirin 920 is estimated to cost around US$20-25.
Since purchasing high-end solutions from Qualcomm costs over US$40, Huawei will be able to enjoy extra profits from its high-end product lines compared to its competitors which are still acquiring high-end APs from the US-based vendor. The new business model will give Huawei strong advantages in controlling overall costs, Digitimes Research believes.
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