(Yicai Global) Oct. 17 -- Huawei Technologies Co. may leapfrog Apple Inc. [NASDAQ:AAPL] as soon as this year to become the second largest smartphone vendor, and Huawei's new artificial intelligence chip will be crucial in its competition with Samsung Group and Apple, International Data Corp. predicted.
The gap between Huawei and Apple is narrowing, IDC data show. The Chinese firm's mobile phone sales accounted for 11.3 percent of the global smartphone market in the second quarter, while the Cupertino-based company's market share was 12 percent.
The Kirin 970 AI processor that Huawei recently rolled out allows the group to challenge Apple and Samsung, an IDC analyst opined. This thumb-sized component is the first mobile chip in the world to integrate an independent neural Network Processing Unit (NPU) for AI.
The introduction of this chip signifies AI's integration of into smartphones. Without reliance on cloud computing support, handsets' information processing will accelerate.
"If Huawei did not have its own AI chip, it might trail behind Apple and Samsung in the next two to three years," the analyst said. "AI chips are one of the reasons why Apple and Samsung can stay ahead in the market. If Huawei's AI chip can provide the same experiences that Samsung's or Apple's chips do, Huawei will have a competitive edge in the long term."