China's Huawei Throws Down Gauntlet to Apple's Siri
Yicai Global
/SOURCE : Yicai
China's Huawei Throws Down Gauntlet to Apple's Siri

(Yicai Global) Feb. 16 -- Huawei Technologies Co., the world's third-largest smartphone maker, is poised to break into the highly competitive voice-assistant software market with a plan to come up with its own rival to Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa and Alphabet's Google Assistant.

A Shenzhen-based team of more than 100 Huawei engineers has started work on a voice-assistant program, Bloomberg reported today, citing an informed source. The project is in its early stages, it said.

Recognized as a major Android smartphone brand, Huawei's decision to develop its own voice assistant may pose a threat to Google's plans. Last month, Huawei announced it would install Alexa on its Mate 9 smartphones sold in the US. So far Google Assistant has only been made available on Google's Pixel smartphones, home speakers and smartwatches running the latest version of the Android Wear software.

Google is in talks with third-party manufacturers to pre-install its assistant on their devices, said a source familiar with the matter.

Huawei is not the first Android device maker to develop its own voice-assistant program. In 2016, Samsung acquired Viv Labs, a startup set up by some Siri founders, and its first product pre-installed with Samsung voice assistant will be released later this year. Baidu also announced its voice assistant service in 2015.

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