At the moment, artificial intelligence is getting hot.Artificial intelligence technologies will be applied to future iot, VR, AR, smart home, intelligent hardware, and many other areas, but for now, the AI technology is applied to mobile phones promote smartphones performance optimization and break the bottleneck of the current innovation a feasible path, may also be a mobile phone manufacturer in the future application level and the hardware and software to optimize a hot direction of innovation.
One big development is apple's development of AI chips.According to bloomberg's Mark Gurman, apple is developing a custom chip to handle AI tasks.The chip could help apple take a strategic position in the AI market.
Why is apple pushing AI chips?
Apples are so many, there are several reasons, such as amazon and Google giants are advancing in the field of AI, amazon has main Echo intelligent speakers of artificial intelligent technology, the intelligent voice technology of intelligent recognition and the depth of the interactive link in study also obtained many achievements, amazon's Echo sales will soon break through 10 million, covering 30 million to 4000 households.
Google AlphaGo made a name for itself by defeating top go players lee sedol and ke jie in the go field.The aim of Google AlphaGo to beat the human players is obviously to gain the attention and reputation of its artificial intelligence technology in the world. Of course, the aim of Google has been achieved, and the industry has considered Google as the leading pathfinder in the field of artificial intelligence.
You know, behind AlphaGo's defeat of the top human players is also the advancement and promotion of chip technology, relying on the improvement of chip to provide sufficient processing capacity for large-scale machine learning.And in the current, Google, nvidia, Google and other giants are developing AI chip, apple to further promote the development of AI chip is also aimed at this.
But at the moment apple doesn't have much in the way of artificial intelligence.Apple's aim in developing AI chips is to introduce new innovative experiences into the smartphone world.At the moment, the parts of the device that apple has to control for itself range from the CPU, to the GPU, to the power management IC, to the baseband chip, to the PMIC, AP, bluetooth chip and possibly even to the flash memory, the Mac chip and the sensor.Tightening control over the core components, building a complete manufacturing system, and sealing off the core technology, clearly wants a big move.
All the time, drive chip advances are mobile Internet, multimedia and smartphone application layer applications.But in the future, AI technology will increasingly be combined with smart phones.Although more AI technology to solve problems, but from the point of the future, the chip can help accelerate the progress of AI algorithms, can promote the graphics processor is a breakthrough in the field of machine learning, let the software to perform tasks become very clever, pictures or intelligent voice explain, for example, it can also be further breakthrough the bottleneck of the current intelligent AI assistant - when dealing with practical problems too elaborate or actual effect is not big.
For apple, the application of AI chip is also obviously related to AR.With the current combination of augmented reality, virtual reality and mobile apps getting deeper, ai will become ubiquitous.
Last year, foreign media reported that the company is entering the AR glasses market, and received a technical patents about augmented reality situation figure, for apple, AR application developers if a follow up on the iPhone AR application development, which requires apple needs to structure a set of corresponding AR platform and development kit, apple need to build in the underlying system infrastructure is perfect, it depend on the chip to drive the AI AI task modules, including graphics processor further breakthroughs in the field of machine learning.
What are apple's advantages?
Apple to AI on mobile phone function to have breakthrough in the smartphone application level is of advantage, on the one hand, because of apple has outstanding ability of software and hardware design, apple is currently excellent chip manufacturers, in the current view, in fact apple series A chip with the industry's strongest single thread CPU performance, and more than the male version of ARM design prescribed by the Numbers, each generation in the ascent, it is that the benefits of can provide each thread application with higher performance.The development of AI also requires continuous improvement of chip technology.In turn, AI can help chip technology move forward, and the two complement each other.
On the other hand, because apple has enough shipments and enough cash flow, other manufacturers may not be rivals to apple in terms of research and development funding advantages and cost advantages.In the future, if apple USES this AI chip to make breakthroughs in smartphone security, processing performance, battery efficiency, software and hardware integration and intelligent response, its technical barrier on terminal AI chip will be very solid and pose a threat to other manufacturers.
In the field of AI chips: Android phone makers won't sit idly by
But it's also clear that Android phone makers won't be sitting on their hands.Currently, samsung, huawei and xiaomi all have self-developed chips.Samsung has been very strong in the chip market, as the surging demand for RAM and flash memory in the whole market and the continuing shortage of NAND have led to the soaring price and demand of its x chip. In the first quarter of 2017, chip revenue was a highlight for samsung, with revenue increasing more than 40% year on year.In the first quarter of this year, the semiconductor business forced Intel.The growth of samsung's chip business also means that accelerating deep learning, machine-learning driven applications is the trend for smartphones in the future.
Looking at the domestic AI chip development status.In China, the development momentum of AI chip manufacturers such as Horizon Robotics (Horizon Robotics), zhongke Cambrian and zhongxing microelectronics is strong.In the field of mobile phone manufacturers, independent chip research and development has been put on the agenda by major manufacturers since huawei's early development of hysi chip.This year, xiaomi has also produced the paper S1 chip, and meizu has also reported a cooperation with a mobile chip master to develop the phone chip.While the launch of chips by companies such as xiaomi may be more about marketing and branding, the current willingness of phone makers to invest in research and development on core technologies such as chip technology is appreciated.
One overlooked move last year was the purchase of Viv for 238.93 billion won ($215 million).Viv, based in SAN jose, has a team that includes key members of apple's virtual assistant Siri.Samsung S8 launched its artificial intelligence assistant Bixby this year.The next step, for samsung, will probably be AI chips.
According to the report "chip industry patent analysis and patent portfolio quality assessment" released by QUESTEL, an internationally renowned patent search company, China has witnessed an amazing growth of chip patents in the past 10 years and has become the largest country in terms of chip patent applications.Chinese companies have gradually caught up with foreign incumbents in the number of chip patents.Among the world's top 10 ai chipmakers, three are from China and six from the United States.
At home, since the current machine manufacturers such as huawei, millet has its own chip business, for future chips into the AI technology can also be the trend of The Times, the current qualcomm Xiao dragon processor page has been provided for dealing with the task of artificial intelligence module, the Google has released in 2016 special chip AI TPU Tensor Processing units (Tensor Processing Unit), can search and image recognition applications such as computing and services, and introduced as the apple in the future if the AI chips, and samsung may follow up case, domestic mobile phone can't be indifferent, there are two road,One is to continue to use qualcomm's AI chip, one is self-research.Otherwise the next wave of smartphone bargaining power will be left behind.
In addition, with the increasing expectations of domestic consumers for domestic mobile phones, domestic mobile phones are now making a collective attack towards the high-end. Self-developed AI chip is a good card to improve the brand premium ability, which will greatly reduce the dependence of domestic manufacturers on overseas markets, improve their reputation and win the support of domestic users.
In at least three to five years, the smartphone is a huge market, chip business combined with artificial intelligence will also drive a big mobile phone in the application of innovation level, especially the future deep learning application plethora of architecture gradually to the deep learning application of super computer optimization, with artificial intelligence, especially the application of machine learning, chip manufacturers, mobile phone manufacturers need to be based on the trend constantly improve products, product launches, as a new leader AI era.
The chip industry has also become a key industry supported by the state, and the state chip fund has invested heavily in ziguang and zte microelectronics.In the future, the application of AI will force the development of chip technology, and the strategic support of AI chip may be increased.Mobile phone manufacturers also need to think about the layout of AI chips at a strategic height. Otherwise, in the next wave of AI integration with smart phones, it will be difficult to grab the first-mover advantage and take the initiative in bargaining.In that sense, AI chips could become a new weapon in the battle for the next round of discourse.