Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. launched a new chipset with built-in artificial-intelligence capabilities to power its next-generation smartphones and take on rivals Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.
Though Huawei is well known in the smartphone business, it is No. 3 world-wide behind Apple and Samsung. It is lesser known as a maker of chips for its own phones. The company says its new Kirin 970 chip will power its forthcoming Mate 10 smartphone, set to launch next month to compete against the coming 10th-anniversary iPhone.
Huawei's new chipset was unveiled Saturday at the IFA electronics trade show in Berlin. It comes as the company has been pouring resources into the more profitable high-end phone market, long dominated by Apple. Its current flagship phone, the P10, launched this year with a base price of $685.
The Shenzhen-based company has said the Mate 10 will have improved camera and battery life. It also said the new Kirin chipset will power stronger image-recognition abilities and other camera features on its phones.
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.
Huawei has been steadily gaining market share from rivals in the smartphone wars. In China, where Apple has been losing ground, Huawei recaptured the top spot from Chinese brand Oppo in the first quarter, according to Canalys.
Globally, it had 10% of the market in the first quarter, according to Canalys, behind Samsung's 23% and Apple's 15%. While it is a major player in Europe, its sales remain low in the U.S.