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Huawei to release ‘real AI’
September 24, 2017, 4:28 pm

Huawei took a swipe at Apple’s much touted iPhone X launch last week, by promising to release “The Real AI Phone” next month. Not known for subtlety in its marketing materials, Huawei launched a Facebook video that brazenly targeted iPhone’s new ‘neural engine’ hardware dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI).

Huawei, which overtook Apple this month to become the world’s second biggest smartphone maker, behind Samsung, said it would unveil the “real AI phone” on October 16 with the launch of its new flagship the Huawei Mate 10.

Putting dedicated AI chips in mobile devices is a big advantage, allowing for faster processing, longer battery life, and greater user security. And, Huawei has a pretty good claim to being ahead in the mobile AI world. At last month’s IFA consumer electronics tradeshow in Berlin, Huawei unveiled its latest system-on-chip: the Kirin 970, which comes with its own “Neural Processing Unit” or NPU.

Like Apple’s neural engine, the NPU is a set of processing cores within the phone’s chipset that are dedicated to running AI tasks. But it is possible Huawei’s AI integration can go deeper. With its previous flagship, the Mate 9, it used machine learning to adapt the device’s operating system to users’ habits, allocating processing power and memory to the most-used tasks. The Mate 9 indicated Huawei’s ambition to leverage artificial intelligence on a system-wide level; the Mate 10 could prove Huawei’s lead in this direction.

Perhaps this is what the company means when it promises to unveil the “real AI phone” next month — not just dedicated hardware, but software tweaks that take advantage of the latest machine learning.

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