Google Assistant is Google’s current pride and joy, and Amazon’s Alexa isn’t far behind. Digital voice assistants are a huge deal, and that doesn’t even include Bixby from Samsung and Siri from Apple. Would you expect Huawei to sit out on this market? Of course not.
With that being said, Huawei also understands that Alexa and Google Assistant are really good, and even though Bixby and Siri aren’t quite as competitive, they’re both backed by OEMs that have a ton of clout in the US smartphone market. To counter this, it looks like Huawei’s AI assistant is going to be focused exclusively on the Chinese market, at least at first.
The assistant has sort of leaked in some early builds of EMUI 8.1 for certain Huawei devices, so we know it’ll be called HiAssistant and will take advantage of the Kirin 970’s neural processing power.
A big selling point for HiAssistant will be its natural language understanding capabilities, or NLU. This method of interacting with a human voice will allow the assistant to understand speech patterns that aren’t perfectly sound and structured. This makes an assistant feel much more “real” and reactive to regular conversation.
Like Bixby, HiAssistant will also be able to control settings and features of an entire device, including basic stuff like WiFi and Bluetooth, but also more advanced things like music playback and certain chat apps.
To compete with Google Lens, Huawei is also focusing on a feature called HiVision. And, much like Google Lens or Bixby Vision, it can recognize objects, people, food, specific photography scenes, and a few other things.
At this point all we know is that HiAssistant will only be available in China, and will only be available to devices with a Kirin 970 processor. That’s definitely going to limit things at first, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a more broad rollout of this assistant if it advances well in the next few years.
source: XDA Developers