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Prior to an Anticipated Market Recovery, China’s Honor is Placing Bets on AI Devices for Worldwide Expansion



Prior to an Anticipated Market Recovery, China's Honor is Placing Bets on AI Devices for Worldwide Expansion

As the global rivalry heats up, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Honor, a spin-off of Huawei Technologies, is depending on artificial intelligence (AI) to transform the way people use its devices and give it an advantage.

At a launch event in Barcelona on Sunday, Honor CEO George Zhao Ming outlined the company’s new AI strategy, which entails developing a “intent-based user interface” that would aid in enabling a seamless experience across various systems and devices. He was giving a speech prior to MWC Barcelona, formerly known as the Mobile World Congress, a trade exhibition for the mobile communications sector.

Zhao showed off Honor’s new Magic Portal feature during an interface showcase. This enables users to quickly open the location in Google Maps by tapping and dragging a text message that contains the name of a restaurant, for example. The concept is that AI can foresee user needs to provide a better experience.

The Magic 6 Pro, Honor’s most recent flagship smartphone, made its world debut at the event. It has AI-powered features including Magic Portal and MagicLM, the company’s 7-billion-parameter large language model (LLM). In Europe, prices begin at €1,299 (US$1,405).

Zhao stated at the event that Honor is interested in collaborating with business partners to advance its AI capabilities. He cited Meta Platforms, the owner of Facebook, as an example, noting that Honor employs the open-source Llama 2 model from the US tech giant to create text and respond to user inquiries on the Magic 6 Pro.

As part of the larger Magic 6 series, the new flagship smartphone made its debut in mainland China last month. It was Honor’s first 5G phone to come equipped with MagicLM.

As competition in the area heats up, Honor is not the only company attempting to include AI capabilities into its phones. As AI is viewed as a key factor in the anticipated market recovery this year following a protracted decline, numerous smartphone manufacturers have made their commitment to implementing it on their own products known.

Oppo, which according to research firm IDC will rank as the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world in 2023, declared earlier this month that the “AI phone era” had begun and that it will be allocating more resources in this direction. The company’s own AndesGPT AI is included in the Find X7 series smartphones, which were released last month.

For its well-known Galaxy devices, Samsung Electronics uses third parties to provide generative artificial intelligence (GenAI). As part of a multi-year cooperation, the company’s 5G devices will employ Google’s Gemini model globally. But as Samsung revealed this month, the South Korean tech behemoth has teamed up with Baidu to use its LLM in the Galaxy S24 in mainland China.

Global shipments of GenAI-enabled smartphones are expected to surpass 100 million units this year, up from roughly 47 million in 2023, and then quickly increase to 552 million by 2027, according to tech research firm Counterpoint.

According to Counterpoint, GenAI handsets, a subclass of AI smartphones, employ similar models to produce original content as opposed to only responding preprogrammed or carrying out predetermined tasks. Since AI models are frequently built into chipsets and come with specified hardware requirements, these devices execute AI models natively.

According to IDC, worldwide smartphone shipments decreased 3.2% year over year to 1.17 billion devices in 2023. The research group stated that although the number of shipments for the entire year was the lowest in ten years, “growth in the second half of the year has cemented the expected recovery for 2024.”


Biden, Kishida Secure Support from Amazon and Nvidia for $50 Million Joint AI Research Program



As the two countries seek to enhance cooperation around the rapidly advancing technology, President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida have enlisted Inc. and Nvidia Corp. to fund a new joint artificial intelligence research program.

A senior US official briefed reporters prior to Wednesday’s official visit at the White House, stating that the $50 million project will be a collaborative effort between Tsukuba University outside of Tokyo and the University of Washington in Seattle. A separate collaborative AI research program between Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Tokyo’s Keio University is also being planned by the two nations.

The push for greater research into artificial intelligence comes as the Biden administration is weighing a series of new regulations designed to minimize the risks of AI technology, which has developed as a key focus for tech companies. The White House announced late last month that federal agencies have until the end of the year to determine how they will assess, test, and monitor the impact of government use of AI technology.

In addition to the university-led projects, Microsoft Corp. announced on Tuesday that it would invest $2.9 billion to expand its cloud computing and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Japan. Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, met with Kishida on Tuesday. The company released a statement announcing its intention to establish a new AI and robotics lab in Japan.

Kishida, the second-largest economy in Asia, urged American business executives to invest more in Japan’s developing technologies on Tuesday.

“Your investments will enable Japan’s economic growth — which will also be capital for more investments from Japan to the US,” Kishida said at a roundtable with business leaders in Washington.

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OnePlus and OPPO Collaborate with Google to Introduce Gemini Models for Enhanced Smartphone AI



As anticipated, original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, are heavily integrating AI into their products. Google is working with OnePlus, OPPO, and other companies to integrate Gemini models into their smartphones. They intend to introduce the Gemini models on smartphones later this year, becoming the first OEMs to do so. Gemini models will go on sale later in 2024, as announced at the Google Cloud Next 24 event. Gemini models are designed to provide users with an enhanced artificial intelligence (AI) experience on their gadgets.

Customers in China can now create AI content on-the-go with devices like the OnePlus 12 and OPPO Find X7 thanks to OnePlus and OPPO’s Generative AI models.

The AI Eraser tool was recently made available to all OnePlus customers worldwide. This AI-powered tool lets users remove unwanted objects from their photos. For OnePlus and OPPO, AI Eraser is only the beginning.

In the future, the businesses hope to add more AI-powered features like creating original social media content and summarizing news stories and audio.

AndesGPT LLM from OnePlus and OPPO powers AI Eraser. Even though the Samsung Galaxy S24 and Google Pixel 8 series already have this feature, it is still encouraging to see OnePlus and OPPO taking the initiative to include AI capabilities in their products.

OnePlus and OPPO devices will be able to provide customers with a more comprehensive and sophisticated AI experience with the release of the Gemini models. It is important to remember that OnePlus and OPPO already power the Trinity Engine, which makes using phones incredibly smooth, and use AI and computational mathematics to enhance mobile photography.

By 2024, more original equipment manufacturers should have AI capabilities on their products. This is probably going to help Google because OEMs will use Gemini as the foundation upon which to build their features.

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Meta Explores AI-Enabled Search Bar on Instagram



In an attempt to expand the user base for its generative AI-powered products, Meta is moving forward. The business is experimenting with inserting Meta AI into the Instagram search bar for both chat with AI and content discovery, in addition to testing the chatbot Meta AI with users in nations like India on WhatsApp.

When you type a query into the search bar, Meta AI initiates a direct message (DM) exchange in which you can ask questions or respond to pre-programmed prompts. Aravind Srinivas, CEO of Perplexity AI, pointed out that the prompt screen’s design is similar to the startup’s search screen.

Plus, it might make it easier for you to find fresh Instagram content. As demonstrated in a user-posted video on Threads, you can search for Reels related to a particular topic by tapping on a prompt such as “Beautiful Maui sunset Reels.”

Additionally, TechCrunch spoke with a few users who had the ability to instruct Meta AI to look for recommendations for Reels.

By using generative AI to surface new content from networks like Instagram, Meta hopes to go beyond text generation.

With TechCrunch, Meta verified the results of its Instagram AI experiment. But the company didn’t say whether or not it uses generative AI technology for search.

A Meta representative told TechCrunch, “We’re testing a range of our generative AI-powered experiences publicly in a limited capacity. They are under development in varying phases.”

There are a ton of posts available discussing Instagram search quality. It is therefore not surprising that Meta would want to enhance search through the use of generative AI.

Furthermore, Instagram should be easier to find than TikTok, according to Meta. In order to display results from Reddit and TikTok, Google unveiled a new perspectives feature last year. Instagram is developing a feature called “Visibility off Instagram” that could allow posts to appear in search engine results, according to reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi, who made this discovery earlier this week on X.

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