3 out of 4 smartphones expected to have dedicated AI processors by 2022

    AI smartphones will increase to 1,250 million units in 2022 from 190 million in 2018, representing more than three-quarters of all smartphones shipping in that year.

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    According to a new report by research firm Counterpoint, three out of four smartphones are forecast to have dedicated Artificial Intelligence (AI) processors by the end of 2022.

    3 out of 4 smartphones expected to have dedicated AI processors

     

    As AI becomes part of the mobile experience, smartphone system-on-chip (SoC) vendors are racing to improve the machine learning capabilities of their chips by integrating dedicated AI processing cores into their designs.

    The report also pointed out that sales of AI smartphones will increase to 1,250 million units in 2022 from 190 million in 2018, representing more than three-quarters of all smartphones shipping in that year.

    The key driver behind this forecast is the expected launch of several Android smartphone models using Qualcomm's 855 SoC in 2019 and beyond.

    Counterpoint expects that dedicated AI cores will also be included in some mid-range smartphones during 2019 using Taiwanese vendor MediaTek's new P90 SoC.

    "We see voice assistants as one of the first applications to benefit from device-based processing," said Gareth Owen, Associate Research Director at Counterpoint Research.

    "Today, most voice processing in smartphones is cloud-based. However, voice assistants will be able to process commands quicker and respond faster with on-device processing. It also resolves privacy concerns," he added.

    Huawei and Apple were the first original equipment manufacturer (OEMs) to include dedicated AI processors in their system on chips (SoCs) (Kirin 970 and A11 chips, respectively) launched in their flagship handsets in September 2017.

    Two years on, virtually all other SoC vendors are following suit. For example, Qualcomm is offering an AI Tensor Accelerator in the Snapdragon 855's Hexagon DSP for the first time.

    "With Qualcomm joining the fray and incorporating hardware-based AI acceleration in its latest Snapdragon SoC for the first time, industry-wide adoption of AI silicon in smartphones is inevitable," said Peter Richardson, Research Director at Counterpoint Research. "And with Qualcomm keen to extend machine learning capabilities into its lower cost chips, plus the availability of AI SoCs for mid-range phones from other vendors, this trend will quickly extend to mid-range and even low-range smartphones," he added.

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