Although Apple's latest A14 Bionic chip enabled the iPhone 12 family and iPad Air tablets to deliver impressive performance improvements, Qualcomm is making clear that the next generation of Android devices will rely heavily on advanced AI and computer vision processors to retake the performance lead. Teased yesterday at Qualcomm's virtual Tech Summit, the Snapdragon 888 is getting a full reveal today, and the year-over-year gains are impressive, notably including the largest jump in AI performance in Snapdragon history. The Snapdragon 888's debut is significant for technical decision makers because the chip will power most if not all of 2021's flagship Android phones, which collectively represent a large share of the over two billion computers sold globally each year. Moreover, the 888's increasing reliance on AI processing demonstrates how machine learning's role is now critical in advancing all areas of computing, ranging from how devices work when they're fully on to what they're quietly doing when not in active use. From a high-level perspective, the Snapdragon 888 is a sequel to last year's flagship 865 chips, leveraging 5-nanometer process technology and tighter integration with 5G and AI chips to deliver performance and power efficiency gains.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most exciting technological growth areas in recent years, with some investors like technologically-focused entrepreneur Tej Kohli predicting the sector will be worth $150 trillion (£125tn) by 2025, but why do we need the technology in our phones? Flagship devices today all come equipped with specialised AI processing chips, known and neural engines or neural processing units, from Apple's A12 Bionic CPU to Huawei's Kirin 980 or Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845, and more and more tasks are using their advanced processing capabilities. The most obvious artificial intelligence in our phones are the voice assistants that learn to understand our voice commands and then act appropriately from telling us the weather to playing our favourite song or adding an appointment to our calendar. Google, Apple, and Amazon have steered clear of labelling their services as AI so as not to scare away users fearful of a robot takeover, but these services rely on machine learning to function – understanding what you are telling them to do and then performing the right action. Possibly the most advanced implementation of any digital assistant is Google's Duplex service that will make calls and interact with other people and businesses on your behalf.
Chinese tech giant ZTE has announced its 5G flagship smartphone at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019, with the Axon 10 Pro 5G to launch in China and Europe by June 2019. The first 5G smartphone from the company packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 mobile platform, a Snapdragon X50 5G modem, and an artificial intelligence (AI) engine that automatically adjusts CPU, GPU, RAM, and ROM using AI algorithms. AI capabilities are also used across the triple camera, motion capture, scene recognition, portrait lighting adjustment, and for learning user behaviour. The smartphone operates on sub-6GHz spectrum frequencies. "The latest addition to ZTE's premium flagship Axon series also implements a fully self-developed, full-band antenna design to achieve full coverage of 2G/3G/4G/5G and effectively improved system performance by reducing signal interference," ZTE said in Barcelona on Monday.
Huawei has unveiled the 2018 updates to last year's 5.9-inch Mate 10 and 6.0-inch Mate 10 Pro smartphones. There are no surprises with the naming of the two new handsets, the Mate 20 and the Mate 20 Pro, which are targeted at what Huawei calls'new entrepreneurs' -- typically, the denizens of startups in tech hubs such as the venue for the company's London pre-brief last week. "That's the audience that really resonates with the Mate family," said Peter Gauden, Huawei's global senior product marketing manager, at the pre-brief: "High achievers who understand technology as a tool, and how it advances what they can do." The flagship smartphone market is as competitive as ever, with vendors typically pursuing ever more on-device AI and better camera performance, among other things. Huawei has certainly been holding its own up to now, leapfrogging over Apple to take second spot in IDC's Q2 2018 worldwide ranking, for example.
An awful lot has been written about Huawei's new P20 Pro smartphone, especially the cameras it is built around. This smartphone is kitted out with a 40-megapixel RGB sensor, a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor, an 8-megapixel sensor with a telephoto lens, and a 24-megapixel selfie camera. There's also built-in AI to help the user take better photos. Huawei clearly want uses to be taking photos with the P20 Pro. Must read: iOS 11.3: Tips, tricks, and how to fix the biggest annoyances It's weird because up until I read iFixit's teardown of the P20 Pro, I'd assumed that this handset, like the P20 Lite, had a slot for storage expansion.
Huawei has unveiled the world's first triple rear camera system on a smartphone, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) to help users take photos. The Chinese firm said the new £800 ($1,130) P20 Pro uses AI to identify objects and scenes in the camera's view and adjust its settings accordingly. The smartphone can snap photos in near-dark conditions without using its flash or a tripod by taking exposures lasting up to six seconds to get enough light. Its AI system adjusts the camera's settings to avoid the blurring and smearing that often plagues photographers employing this technique handheld. The P20 Pro is the flagship device among three new phones the company announced at an event in Paris, where the P20 and P20 Lite were also introduced.
Huawei has unveiled two new smartphones, the P20 and P20 Pro, with a major focus on the updated camera. The new smartphones, which run Android 8.1 Oreo, were launched at an event in Paris. The P20 Pro has a 6.1-inch, 2,240-by-1,080 OLED screen and a 4,000mAh battery, but the real departure is the camera system. The P20 Pro's main camera is a Leica triple-lens unit that, according to Huawei, has the highest total pixel count on any currently-available smartphone. It comprises a 40-megapixel (MP) RGB sensor, a 20MP monochrome sensor and an 8MP sensor with a telephoto lens.
Huawei may be best known for US retailers not stocking its wares, but regardless, the company continues to ramp up its flagship smartphones. In the past few years, phones like the P9 made a lot of us stand up and take notice, thanks to classy design touches and Huawei's own imaging tricks. Its next phones, the P20 and P20 Pro, take that latter part even further as the company tries to spar with Samsung and the rest with a tapestry of AI skills and so very many camera sensors. There's so much going on when it comes to imaging (both in terms of hardware and software) that, at least during my short time with both phones, I couldn't test out all the modes and use cases. I'll say this, though: Huawei is taking its smartphone cameras very seriously.