Huawei is working on an Alexa and Google Assistant competitor for China
It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are dominating the virtual assistant market. Samsung and Apple have tried lessening their grip with Bixby and Siri, respectively, but these attempts have proven to be futile at best.
Huawei started talking about AI a lot more with the launch of its Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, and according to a new report, the company is preparing to launch its own assistant in the form of the "HiAssistant."
XDA Developers recently obtained access to firmware files of EMUI 8.1 for the Mate 10, and within these files, there's a lot of information regarding this HiAssistant. It'll apparently replace the very barebones "HiVoice" app on Huawei phones, but unlike Bixby and Siri, Huawei will only be launching the HiAssistant on its phones in China.
According to various snippets of code, the HiAssistant will be able to control multiple device functions (such as turning on Bluetooth, adjusting your volume, enabling night mode, etc.), make phone calls, send text messages, search for a variety of things through Weibo, send payments, and even offer Google Lens-like functionality thanks to its own "HiVision" feature.
In addition to only being available in China, HiAssistant will also only work on Huawei devices powered by the Kirin 970 and running EMUI 8.1 or later.
Huawei's yet to comment on any of this, but seeing as how we're expecting the upcoming P20 to debut with the Kirin 970 and EMUI 8.1, there's a good chance HiAssistant gets an official unveiling on March 27 alongside Huawei's new P20 series.
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Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.