×

Huawei launches its first A.I. mobile chip with Apple reportedly set to enter market

  • The Kirin 970 is the size of a thumbnail and will support many of the AI capabilities that devices need today.
  • Huawei is following other device manufacturers such as Google which released a new AI chip earlier this year.
Lluis Gene | AFP | Getty Images

Huawei unveiled its first artificial intelligence (AI) chip for mobile devices on Saturday, pitting it against major players like NVIDIA, Google and potentially Apple.

The Kirin 970 is the size of a thumbnail and will support many of the AI capabilities that devices need today, such as voice interaction and image recognition.

Huawei's chip supports on-device AI. That means the AI functions are processed on the smartphone rather than in the cloud, which could speed up processes.

Manufacturers are bringing increasingly complex features to devices such as augmented reality. These require new chipsets as they advance.

Huawei could see some advantages by making their own chips. Firstly, it allows the company to control the exact design of their smartphone which could help it differentiate in a very crowded market. The Chinese firm has been making a big push in the smartphone space and is now the third-largest player in the world by market share, just behind Apple, according to research group IDC.

And secondly, Huawei could potentially license this chip to other manufacturers, opening a new revenue stream.

"The ultimate goal is to provide a significantly better user experience. The Kirin 970 is the first in a series of new advances that will bring powerful AI features to our devices and take them beyond the competition," Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's Consumer Business Group, said in a press release on Saturday.

Huawei is following other device manufacturers such as Google which released a new AI chip earlier this year, and Apple, which has a semiconductor of its own in the works, according to a Bloomberg report.

The Chinese tech giant is also coming up against major chip firms such as Qualcomm and Nvidia.