If you haven't noticed already, 2017 is the year of voice assistants.
Amazon's Alexa seems to be everywhere, and now we have Google Assistant. And companies are putting these assistants in everything from speakers and phones to connected appliances. Samsung is even developing its own assistant for the Galaxy S8, and LG is rumoured to include both Alexa and Google Assistant in its upcoming LG G6. So, it's not surprising to learn Huawei is jumping on board.
In an effort to differentiate itself and grab more market share (it is the third-largest phone maker worldwide), it is said to be working on an assistant to go after Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple's Siri, and Microsoft's Cortana. According to Bloomberg, it's employed a team of more than 100 people in Shenzhen to develop the assistant. The company also funds research into artificial intelligence.
In October, Huawei partnered with UC Berkeley on a $1 million “strategic partnership into basic research” of deep learning, natural language processing, and computer vision. Richard Yu, Huawei's CEO, said the company wanted to "bring to the consumer the best services."
It's interesting to see Android phone-makers invest in their own assistants, especially when they could one day potentially leverage Google Assistant. Also, remember, Huawei has already announced Amazon Alexa will be available in the US version of the Mate 9 handset. We're basically assuming that Huawei is just dipping its toes in the water of voice assistants with that partnership.
We're excited to see what happens when it decides to go for a full swim.