Say what you will about the smartphone industry, but one thing’s for certain: It’s a breeding ground for innovation. A couple of years ago, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) started focusing on premium designs and build materials. Last year, they turned their attention to camera quality. And this year, slim bezels and 18:9 aspect ratios are all the rage. But artificial intelligence is gaining steam, too, and Xiaomi’s 2018 flagships could take it to the next level.
During a talk titled “Opportunities for Xiaomi in the AI era” at the 2017 World Internet Conference in Wuzen, China, CEO Lei Jun spoke about AI’s smartphone potential. He said that the company’s 2018 smartphone lineup will be equipped with “AI-driven apps,” which might have been a reference to the Xiaomi Mi 7. Rumblings suggest it’ll be the first Xiaomi smartphone powered by Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 845.
Smartphone-based AI technology isn’t new, of course — Xiaomi’s own Mi Note 3 uses AI to power its Adaptable AI Beauty feature, which removes skin imperfections from selfies. But most of them rely on cloud-based servers for processing, which requires an internet connection (and poses a security risk).
To remedy that problem, smartphone chip makers have increasingly begun to integrate AI-optimized neural networking components in the system-on-chips. Huawei, for example, recently announced a Kirin chip with “neural” chip, and Google partnered with Intel to create an image processing core. Xiaomi, presumably, has something equally impressive up its sleeve.
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