Author: Guo Xiaofeng
Editor: Gao Yulei
Turbo (turbocharged) was proposed in 1905. 50 years later, the first turbo car was introduced. Now that people see the Turbo or T in the rear of the car, the car's engine is turbocharged. It runs faster than a car without T, and it also saves fuel. Today, this technology has been re-engraved on smartphones.
Last week, Huawei announced that "scary technology" named GPU Turbo. As the name suggests, it can make the mobile phone graphics processing speed significantly improved. Huawei's CEO Yu Chengdong was excited to introduce the technology. He said that GPU Turbo has improved the graphics processing efficiency of smart phones by 60% and the power consumption has also been reduced by 30%.
Optimized for the GPU handset manufacturers have never interrupted. This is because over the past 10 years, the demand for graphics processing on smartphones has increased by leaps and bounds, whether the resolution is from VGA to 1080P, 2K, or even 4K, or the popularity of heavy gaming, AR/VR, AI big data, and complex rendering of images has become increasingly popular. High demands are placed on the ability of mobile phone image processing. At present, due to a series of technical limitations such as space, heat dissipation, and power consumption, the GPU of a mobile phone is difficult to completely match the bursting graphics requirements.
At present, the global mainstream GPUs are Qualcomm's Adreno and ARM's Mali, and the majority of Android phones use GPUs based on ARM's Mali series. Huawei is no exception.
Just like a car's turbocharger, GPU Turbo's optimized cooperation between hardware and software not only results in greater graphics processing efficiency, but also reduces processor power consumption. This means that people will not fall into the dilemma of fluency or long battery life. GPU Turbo, which combines efficiency and low power consumption, will allow users to enjoy the speed of experience without worrying about endurance.
In Yu Chengdong's words, the mobile phone experience using this technology is like the feeling of "flying in the sky". This is less than a year away from Huawei’s last technology release.
Create mobile phone "Noah's Ark" & rdquo;
The GPU Turb technology is dominated by Huawei Labs 2012, and other system software departments cooperate. According to media reports, the commercial value brought by this technology in the future will reach 10 billion US dollars.
The importance of GPUs is now self-evident. The industry generally believes that the iPhone is better than Android phones in fluency. One of the reasons is that because Apple's iOS system handles various special effects for graphics, almost all of them are accelerated based on GPU hardware, which relieves the burden on the CPU and improves the smooth performance of the iOS system.
Huawei's principle of GPU Turbo is similar to that of the EMUI operating system and the processing bottleneck between the GPU and the CPU. The use of the GPU accelerates the smooth running of the system.
In an interview with Tencent "Shenzhen," President Zhao Ming said that GPU Turbo has gotten rid of the fact that Android phones are purely dependent on hardware or relying on systems, and started to solve the problem of the fragmented and slower Android phones plagued by the underlying technology. It is a landmark evolution.
It is understood that Huawei engineers have written hundreds of thousands of codes for GPU Turbo on the EMUI operating system. This is an important reason why Huawei claims that this technology is difficult to follow. "I believe many people will research and study this technology after we release it, but this involves our hardware integration improvement, software and hardware collaboration, so this may not be easy to keep up with." & rdquo; Zhao Ming said.
Whether GPU Turbo is a disruptive technology or whether it can't really be surpassed is unclear. After all, it belongs to the in-depth optimization of mobile phones. It is not the appearance of the design at a glance, so it still takes time to observe. If there are also netizens questioned, from the naming point of view like a bottom technology, but currently only six games can be adapted, but not the overall adaptation, it does not look like the underlying technology. In addition, how can I get 60% image processing improvements?
However, at least there is no denying that Huawei is building its own "Noah's Ark" with its ability to constantly build mobile phones.
Recall that 10 months ago, Huawei announced the world’s first mobile phone AI chip, the Unicorn 970, which caused an uproar in the industry. According to Huawei's introduction, the Kylin 970 can complete 25 times more specific tasks than a normal CPU core, while reducing power consumption by 50 times. The image recognition speed can reach approximately 2000 images/minute.
The above functions are realized by means of the computing power of the NPU processing unit. This is the industry's first mobile phone chip with an independent NPU dedicated hardware processing unit. Huawei brought artificial intelligence hardware to the mobile terminal for the first time. It was earlier than Apple, Samsung and even chip leader Qualcomm was not.
With the highlights of the Kirin 970 processor, AI artificial intelligence, and new Leica dual camera, Huawei's mate 10 series exceeded 5 million units in the first four months of global sales.
Earlier, Huawei began to try to improve its capabilities on mobile phones, especially for the optimization of the underlying technologies. When EMUI 5.0 was launched in 2016, Huawei stated that it could implement a smart phone for 500 days. EMIUI 5.0 predicts that users will use frequent applications, ensuring that high priority should be given priority to resource allocation.
A senior executive who has been engaged in mobile phone R&D for many years told Tencent “Shenzhen”: “From OEMs, independent brands, Kirin chips, AI chips, to today’s GPU Turpo, Huawei is building the super capabilities of mobile phones step by step, because Will win the lasting market.
This point, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei had foreseen. He believes that the future information explosion will be like a digital flood. To survive and develop in the future, Huawei must construct its own "Noah's Ark." At present, Huawei's mobile phone "Noah's Ark" has begun to take shape.
Tencent "Shenzhen" learned from Huawei that the integration of manufacturing technology with technology platforms is the direction of future manufacturing. In the construction of Huawei's technology platform, the chip and terminal operating system are the focus.
If you have a heart (core) you must have a soul, and "soul" is the operating system. Like the carmaker, Huawei officials have never admitted it to the self-developed mobile operating system, but this does not mean that the future will not. Ren Zhengfei also said internally that when Huawei developed the Hass chip, it may always be a spare tire. At that time, many people did not understand it, but looking at today's situation will be more understanding.
The same is true of mobile operating systems. According to the information held by Tencent's "Deep Net", Huawei's 2012 lab has never stopped the research on mobile operating systems.
Before that, the outside world had not reported that Huawei had secretly developed a mobile operating system and was crowned with a Kirin OS. According to Huawei's internal R&D staff, the operating system was highly completed and they had been developed for years. There is no timetable when it comes to the market.
According to a person familiar with the situation, the plan for self-developed mobile phone operating systems was initiated by Ren Zhengfei and was regarded as a "strategic preparation for the worst-case scenario." Technically speaking, it is not that difficult. Huawei already has this strength. Even on the Android system's many codes, Google must learn from Huawei. But the key to the operating system is not hardware and software but ecology. The operating system is just a platform. There is no rich software ecosystem on the platform but an empty shell.
GPU Turbo only improves the efficiency of GPU operation through its own efforts, and cannot promote the optimization of game companies for their mobile phones. It is because the owner of Android system is Google instead of Huawei.
However, some insiders pointed out to Tencent's "Deep Net" that Huawei's mobile operating system will not be independent of Android. After all, the development cycle of an operating system takes too long. It is not realistic to face the rapid iteration of smart phones and the existing configuration of Android and IOS. But for Android "big shake-up" is entirely possible, GPU Turbo is the beginning.
Huawei has many self-developed operating systems on the 2B business, such as the Internet of Things operating system, Lite OS, and server operating systems. For mobile phone operating systems, Ren Zhengfei has made it clear internally that Huawei's operating system is the same as that of a chip. "The main reason is to allow others to allow us to use instead of breaking our food." When we have broken our food, the backup system should be able to use it. ”
The key moment for fulfilling promises
At the beginning of 2016, Yu Chengdong had boasted that he had to declare "three years of super apples and five years of super Samsung". At that time, many people were unbelievable. Huawei made use of its strength to realize the promises it had made in advance.
According to counterpoint research data from a well-known market research organization, the global market sales of Huawei mobile phones in June and July 2017 have surpassed Apple, becoming the world’s second largest mobile phone brand after Samsung.
However, from the perspective of the annual shipments and the overall share, Huawei is still under Apple, and the gap is not significant. Yu Chengdong stated on the same day that the GPU Turbo technology was announced that "I believe that the glory and Huawei brand's domestic market share will reach 30% this year. In the global market rankings, I also believe that we will soon be ranked second with total sales of 200 million units. ”
For Huawei, next year is a crucial year and it is also a year that we can fulfill our promise. In addition to the gap between Huawei and Apple and Samsung, the real difference is in the reserve of technology.
Looking at the entire mobile phone chip industry, Samsung and TSMC are currently the leading foundry manufacturers. Samsung has decades of experience and investment in semiconductors, and has the ability to design, develop, and produce. This also allows Samsung's processors, memory, and flash memory to have high influence in the industry, not to mention the screen.
In terms of revenue and profit, the distance between Huawei and Apple may not be close. In addition to the mobile phone business, Apple has another big "protection wall" App Store. Data shows that in 2017, the App Store revenue reached US$26.5 billion, and Apple obtained a 30% share from it. Although Huawei's cloud service for mobile phones has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, it still has a large gap with Apple.
Ren Zhengfei said, "Huawei missed the era of voice and data, and we did not occupy the strategic heights of the world. We must not miss the image era. "So, Huawei will continue to strengthen research and development in order to catch up with Samsung and Apple and truly exceed it."
According to Huawei's data, as of 2017, Huawei's R&D investment reached 394 billion yuan in 10 years. In 2017 alone, R&D investment reached 10.4 billion euros, accounting for 14.9% of revenue, which surpassed Apple and ranked sixth in global R&D investment.