Should every phone come with a Virtual Assistant onboard?

Huawei is also working on a virtual assistant for smartphones

In 2017 virtual assistants are going to be everywhere. Need weather info? The Google Assistant will deliver that ASAP. Want to buy a new skirt? Alexa will take care of it, just bark a few voice commands at “her” and you’re done. These are only two examples of AI-driven auxiliaries that aim to help you successfully go about your day, but there’s a lot more of them, hidden deep within your smartphone’s entrails waiting for you to utter a request.

Apple has Siri, Microsoft has Cortana, HTC recently unveiled the Sense Companion and Samsung is expected to introduce Bixby with the Galaxy S8. Nokia has also been rumored of working on a virtual buddy for some of its upcoming premium handsets and the rumor mill has dubbed it Viki.

Possible Samsung Bixby Logo

As you can see, the virtual assistant space is getting really crowded. Maybe a bit too crowded. Even so, a new report coming from Bloomberg reveals that Huawei is also working on a smartphone virtual assistant of its own. According to the information, the Chinese device maker already has 100 engineers working on the project.

Not so long ago we found out that Huawei partnered up with Amazon to put Alexa on the Mate9 flagship. As it turns out, international Huawei phone products will ship out with virtual assistant solutions from Amazon and Google. However, Huawei’s own AI companion will be targeted towards the Chinese market. And maybe if the platform proves successful, Huawei will extend its availability to global models as well – in few years.

But will the Huawei assistant be able to stand out? It seems to us that today’s AI-driven assistants out there offer pretty similar functionalities. They make suggestions based on their knowledge of you as a person, answer queries or help you with your shopping lists. But no assistant is perfect – and there’s plenty of room to improve.

Google Assistant fail

Still, Google has dominion over to a lot of user info (via its services) and its machine learning algorithms are certainly superior than the competition’s. Which raises the question, will Huawei really have anything to contribute to the virtual assistant ecosystem? The Chinese company probably thinks so, since it has kickstarted the project.