Dec 15, 2017

Will the Next Big Thing be AI "Intelligent Phones"

HUAWEI made a big bet earlier this year at the IFA with the Neural Processing Unit on its new Kirin 970 chipset, and now HUAWEI is following up on its vision by boldly declaring how revolutionary AI phones will be in the coming years.

Apple shifted the paradigm on what a smartphone is supposed to be back in 2007 with the iPhone, and for the last decade we've basically been living with smartphones that are following that same vision. But now, a decade later, are we finally looking upon the next big paradigm shift that will change how we use our devices? HUAWEI believes that the time is nigh, and the next big thing in smartphones is AI, turning the smartphone into the "Intelligent Phone."

Felix Zhang, the head of Consumer Software Engineering at HUAWEI and the director of Intelligence Engineering, believes that AI will have a monumental impact on our lives in the same way that the steam engine changed our lives back during the industrial revolution. Big words there, but HUAWEI may be on to something. The key bringing about the AI revolution lies in the recently released Huawei Mate 10 series and its revolutionary chip, the Kirin 970.

What exactly makes the Kirin 970 special? It's the world's first mobile chipset to have a dedicated NPU, or Neural Processing Unit. HUAWEI first unveiled the chipset along with its unique NPU during the 2017 IFA in Berlin. Long story short, the NPU will have the ability to process AI commands at 25 times the capacity of existing mobile processor CPUs, with 50 times better energy efficiency. HUAWEI intends to use this on-device AI capability in tandem with cloud AI to bring a significantly better user experience, with advanced AI features that won't be available on competing platforms without the NPU.

The Kirin 970 can process 2,000 images per minute using image recognition technology, and HUAWEI has opened the platform to other developers. HUAWEI is positioning itself to take advantage of the incoming wave of technology which will have AI, 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) connecting everything. The AI is such that the camera on the Mate 10 Pro has the ability to distinguish what it's looking at, and can adjust its settings automatically, taking the best possible shots instantly without any need for adjustment. This is just a taste of what the future of AI technology has in store.

Still, we've yet to see how just how far-reaching and all-encompassing this new world order of AI-enabled chipsets will be. HUAWEI has given us its bold prediction and given us the technology to take the first steps, but we'll find out in the coming years if HUAWEI was correct in this bet, or whether something else will be the next big thing.