BEIJING, September 4 (TiPost) - The Huawei Mate 60 Pro suddenly went on sale online and offline simultaneously last Tuesday, leading to a frenzy of purchases and discussions.
Last Thursday, Apple released the main promotional poster for their autumn launch event on their official WeChat account, with the title “Please Save Your Curiosity for September 13." It’s uncertain whether Chinese consumers will continue to save their curiosity for Apple's autumn launch event and the iPhone 15 series, but it is certain that in the past few days, the curiosity of Chinese consumers has been directed towards Huawei and the Mate 60 Pro.
Despite the numerous news articles and reports about the Huawei Mate 60 Pro, there are still many aspects, such as the self-developed Kirin 9000s chip, 5G support, and satellite communication, that remain unclear.
Part of the confusion arises from Huawei's deliberately hiding information, but there are indeed many intriguing aspects of the new phone, with the most prominent being the self-developed processor - the Kirin 9000s.
Does the Kirin 9000s make breakthroughs in advanced processes?
At the time of its release, the Kirin 9000s seemed to be in a "Schrodinger's cat" state, with one side being the 5nm process and the other side being the 7nm process. On one side, it had a 1+3+4 tri-cluster architecture design, while on the other side, it had a 4+4 architecture design.
Based on the teardown video of the Huawei Mate 60 Pro, it can be confirmed that the Kirin 9000s is labeled as 2035-CN, where "CN" represents production in Chinese mainland, indicating that the chip is manufactured by domestic contract factories.
Limited by upstream lithography equipment, domestic process technology has only been able to reach a maximum of 14nm for a long term. However, based on DUV lithography, domestic manufacturers can achieve N+1 and N+2 processes through multiple exposures. According to relevant information, the N+1 process is close to 7nm in terms of power consumption and stability, but with slightly lower performance. It is generally believed that the N+2 process is equivalent to 7nm LPP (high-performance) technology.
It should be noted that in today's chip manufacturing processes, the number of nanometers no longer accurately represents the physical scale but rather signifies a technological iteration.
Is the Kirin 9000s based on the N+1 or N+2 process? Some media outlets have previously reported that Huawei's HiSilicon would release a new Kirin processor using N+1 technology in the second half of this year. However, as early as 2021, some mining machine manufacturers have already adopted N+1 technology for mass production, so it's also possible that the Kirin 9000s uses N+2 technology.
Furthermore, benchmark scores from various sources suggest that the Kirin 9000s offers performance similar to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, which uses Samsung's 5nm process. However, it may face similar heat-related challenges, as indicated by the large heat spreader inside the Mate 60 Pro, suggesting Huawei's focus on thermal performance.
Ultimately, neither N+1 nor N+2 technology is a magic. According to a communication summary of the Huawei Mate 60 released by a WeChat public account last Wednesday, the Kirin 9000s's application processor (AP) has achieved a 7nm level through software and computation reconstruction methods.
Previously, there have been multiple reports of Huawei implementing chip stacking solutions, each causing great excitement in the industry. Chip stacking is an iterative direction in the semiconductor industry, as demonstrated by AMD, Apple, and TSMC, but it also poses challenges related to heat dissipation.
How did Huawei reconnect to 5G networks?
In fact, after Huawei's smartphones ceased supporting 5G, the processor purchased by the company can still support 5G signals, and the key to limiting 5G network support is actually the RF (radio frequency) chip. When Huawei stopped producing 5G smartphones, most domestic RF chip manufacturers were focused on 4G technology. There were only four manufacturers globally capable of producing the required RF chips: three in the United States (Broadcom, Skyworks Solutions, and Qorvo) and one in Japan (Murata).
But as of now, the Huawei Mate 60 Pro undoubtedly offers full 5G network support. Although the network speed test tool displays 4G LTE network, actual test results surpass the theoretical limit of 150Mbps, reaching over 800Mbps, fully meeting 5G network speed standards.
How did Huawei achieve this? One possibility is that Huawei invested in over a dozen RF device manufacturers in recent years, thus achieving an "upgrade" of domestic RF technology. Additionally, the company may have obtained relevant components through special strategies. Many have noticed that the packaging of the Huawei Mate 60 Pro is labeled "Satellite Mobile Terminal," while most phone packages typically state "Mobile Phone," including those that support satellite communications.
The "Satellite Mobile Terminal" label may be because the Mate 60 Pro's power output has exceeded the maximum limit for mobile phones. After all, it is the world's first mass-market smartphone to support satellite communication.
How did Huawei incorporate satellite communication into a mass-market smartphone?
Apart from the Kirin chip and 5G, satellite communication is perhaps the most significant point of discussion regarding the new phone. The Mate 60 Pro, which was released ahead of schedule, is the world's first mass-market smartphone to support satellite communication. It can not only make and receive satellite calls when there is no ground network but also freely edit satellite messages and choose multiple location data to generate trajectory maps.
Realizing satellite communication depends on chips and signals. According to industry sources cited by IT Times, the satellite communication chip used in the Huawei Mate 60 Pro was customized for Huawei by a research institute under the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation.
As for signals, communicating with Tiantong satellites thousands of kilometers above the Earth typically requires a sufficiently large antenna to enhance signal gain. While Tiantong satellite phones are roughly the size of regular mobile phones, they still have a long antenna exposed.
However, Huawei has clearly overcome this antenna challenge by embedding it inside the phone. There's a detail that many people may have overlooked: the Mate 60 Pro's metal frame has up to nine break points, which is likely to ensure enough empty space to guarantee satellite communication signals.
It cannot be denied that the Huawei Mate 60 Pro is unique.
If we solely consider its performance and price, it does not meet the standards of a high-end smartphone priced at around 7,000 yuan, as 5G has already become a standard feature in this price range. The debut of satellite communication in itself is a major highlight. The significance of the Huawei Mate 60 Pro lies in its technological breakthrough for Huawei and the domestic semiconductor supply chain after being stuck for two and a half years. It represents many things beyond just its product and price.