Huawei hopes AI chipset will give it edge over new iPhone

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During the launch event of Kirin 970 in Berlin, Germany on Saturday, Yu Chengdong, Huawei's consumer business segment chief, said the mobile AI technology shall be a combination of both the cloud AI and the in-device AI as the latter solves the latency, stability, and privacy issues of cloud AI.

While Huawei's rivals are likely working on chip upgrades as well, "making AI computation faster and more efficient will give Huawei an edge, if it can demonstrate improved performance or battery life when conducting everyday tasks", said Tim Coulling, analyst at electronics-research firm Canalys as cited in Wall Street Journal.

"It is a major breakthrough for Huawei". The Kirin 970 has a dual image signal processor, which should focus faster and be more responsive. The chipset packs 5.5 billion transistors in a single square cm.

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The Kirin 970 comes with an octa-core CPU featuring 4x Cortex-A73 cores clocked at 2.4GHz and 4x Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.8GHz.

"As we look to the future of smartphones, we're at the threshold of an exciting new era", Yu said. The goal is for Cloud AI and On-Device AI to complement each other. Supported by strong chip processing capabilities, devices will become more cognitive of user needs, providing personalized and readily accessible services. The 970 chipset's use of AI within the chip compares favourably with the current standard of connecting with the cloud to access AI and results in instant image recognition and better anticipation of users' actions and preferences. Digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google Now, Cortana, and Bixby have served as representatives of AI at the consumer level, though the surface has begun to be scratched at this early stage.

The company also confirmed that the upcoming smartphone Huawei Mate 10 and Huawei Mate 10 Pro will be powered by the same SoC. With this new chipset, the company is betting big on the Artificial Intelligence (AI).

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