March 25, 2017

Huawei is developing its own AI-powered digital assistant in China

16 February 2017, 09:07 | Winifred Adams

Fresh off integrating Amazon's Alexa in the Huawei Mate 9, the world's third biggest smartphone manufacturer is now also working on crafting its own voice assistant, specifically tailored for China. The idea is to scale up services in its domestic market, this is China by offering a voice-powered digital assistant in Chinese, something that the other digital-assistant bigshots have not been able to achieve to perfection.

Building its own version of Siri may aid Huawei in standing out among a crowded Chinese smartphone market, where many of Google's services are blocked. The company trails only Apple and Samsung Electronics global smartphone shipments as it pushes upmarket with premium features. It was only in 2015 that Apple won the court case and resumed operations of Siri in China. Huawei knows the time is ripe. Interestingly, Siri may help Huawei devices to stand out in the Chinese market crowd.

Although Huawei intends to continue working with Google, the company's endeavor to build its own AI assistant clashes with Google's plan in convincing other manufacturers to pre-install its own assistant on their devices.

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Huawei retained its position as the second-largest smartphone vendor in China a year ago with 76.6 million shipments, and with OPPO and Vivo cornering the market with their extensive retail presence, Huawei will be looking to standout features - such as a voice-based AI assistant - to attract new customers.

Thrilled for Huawei's forthcoming smartphone plans? According to a new report, Huawei is about to add its own Huawei Assistant to the list. Google has plans of asking third-party phone makers to get onboard the Google Assistant bandwagon. Samsung is expected to equip its upcoming Galaxy S8 flagship with a similar AI assistant entitled Bixby.

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