Huawei makes play for mobile gamers with ‘turbocharged’ technology that beats all Android competitors, as well as Apple

GPU Turbo claims to improve graphics processing efficiency by 60 per cent while reducing energy consumption by one third, putting it ahead of other smartphones when it comes to gaming applications

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 June, 2018, 4:01pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 January, 2019, 11:57am

China’s Huawei Technologies, which owns the Huawei and Honor smartphone brands, has unveiled what it claims to be turbocharged graphics processing technology that will put it ahead of other Android-based phones when it comes to mobile gaming.

The so-called GPU Turbo technology is able to improve graphics processing efficiency by 60 per cent while reducing energy consumption by 30 per cent, beating other smartphones on the market including Apple’s iPhone X when playing games like Honour of Kings and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, according to Zhao Ming, the president of Honor.

The technology has first been used in Honor Play, a budget phone launched in Beijing on Wednesday targeting young, price sensitive gamers. The technology will be used in other Honor and Huawei phones, effectively making its global debut, in the third quarter of this year, Zhao said in an interview the day before the official product launch in Beijing on Wednesday.

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China is the world’s largest mobile gaming market with more than 600 million players generating 25 per cent of global gaming revenues in 2017, according to research agency Niko Partners.

Graphics processing units (GPUs) for mobile platforms have faced technical constraints like storage, heat dissipation and energy consumption, providing a challenge for smartphone developers when it came to meeting surging demand for mobile graphics processing. The GPU Turbo technology, co-developed by the Huawei and Honor brands, also supports advanced technologies and applications that require high-end graphics processing such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), according to Zhao.

Huawei Technologies, the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, shipped 153.1 million smartphones last year equipped with its EMUI operating system (OS), based on Google’s Android. In China it is the market leader, shipping 21 million units, including the Honor brand, in the first quarter of this year, according to Canalys research.

The Shenzhen-based company has developed its own smartphone chips, while most other Chinese Android brands reply on third party chip set providers such as US-based Qualcomm and Taiwan’s MediaTek.

Huawei’s Kirin 970 chip, launched in 2017, is used in its high-end flagship models including the P20 and Mate 10. Rival Xiaomi announced its self-made mobile chip the Surge S1 in February 2017, but the chip targeted limited budget phones and has not been updated since then.

Huawei has high hopes for its GPU Turbo technology with Richard Yu Chengdong, Huawei mobile business unit chief, writing on his official Sina Weibo feed last month that it would be of “epoch-making significance”, enabling Huawei and Honor phones to “fly in the air” while competitors would be left “running on the road” in terms of performance.

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Unlike the Huawei brand, which is widely known outside China due to its early move into the global market, Honor only started mapping out its overseas expansion strategy in 2017, but is also eyeing rapid global growth by offering solid products at competitive prices.

Honor’s overseas sales accounted for 15 per cent of the brand’s total last year. That grew to 20 per cent in the first quarter of this year, and is forecast to reach 25 to 30 per cent by the end of 2018, which would represent year-on-year growth of 150 per cent, said Zhao.

The Honor president emphasised that Huawei plans to stick to its multi-vendor strategy when sourcing components – continuing to buy chipsets from Qualcomm and MediaTek – as this was critical to ensure healthy development of its smartphone business.