Since its debut in 2011, Siri has become a household name among Apple product consumers and has established a firm position as a leading intelligent assistant. Each month Siri is accessed across an estimated 375 million active devices throughout 36 countries.
However, as the smartphone market grows increasingly competitive it’s no surprise that the company’s R&D budget has steadily increased over the past few years to $10 billion in 2016; its highest allocation to date. Apple acquired Lattice Data (a data analytics technology firm) for $200 million in May of 2017.
The iPhone has recently experienced flat sales, and reports have circulated that Apple Inc. is looking to integrate AI across its devices through the design of an AI chip “known internally as the Apple Neural Chip.” Examples of possible applications include “offloading facial recognition in the photos application, some parts of speech recognition, and the iPhone’s predictive keyboard to the chip.” The company may also offer “developer access” so third-party apps could access the chip’s capabilities for AI related tasks.
In the competitive AI voice assistant sector dominated by the likes of Alexa and Siri, in October 2016, Samsung announced its reported $214 million acquisition of the open AI platform Viv Labs.
The tech company aims to “deliver an AI-based open ecosystem across all of its devices and services.” Viv is “open” in the sense that it provides “third-party developers” with the ability to build virtual assistants with natural language capability and integrate them into applications and services. Viv’s co-founder and CEO, Dag Kittlaus is one of the creators of Siri.
Samsung has reportedly earmarked at least $1 billion towards AI tech firm acquisitions and has generally expressed that a goal for its products is to be able to anticipate the needs of their consumers. For example, the company acquired Melaud (a smart earphones technology) in February 2017 that may potentially involve AI based on its description. Melaud’s technology can reportedly control music “based on body signals, namely, the heart rate and movements while exercising.”Tags: Smartphone