LG makes its own AI chip to give its phones a boost

Ewdison Then - May 19, 2019, 8:55 pm CDT
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LG makes its own AI chip to give its phones a boost

It may be bleeding from quarter after quarter of losses but don’t count LG out of the smartphone game just yet. It hasn’t thrown in the towel and is, in fact, bullish on pushing its mobile phones forward despite all odds. Its latest strategy is to put its eggs in the AI basket by making its own, still unnamed dedicated artificial intelligence chip in the hopes of differentiating its phones from its competitors.

It isn’t the first OEM to make its own “neural” engine chip for smartphones. Huawei can perhaps be credited for kicking off that trend, and soon Apple and Samsung have followed suit. Curiously, Qualcomm, the largest mobile chip maker doesn’t have a dedicated silicon for AI and simply uses all its existing cores and processors for that purpose.

The idea of a dedicated AI chip, however, is to offload those chores to something won’t need to take up the main CPU or wake it up unnecessarily. For LG’s AI Chip, which probably needs to be given a fancy marketing name, those chores include visual intelligence for recognizing objects in space, voice intelligence for voice and speech, and product intelligence for detecting changes in the environment. LG is also promising the ability to process video and audio to recognize emotions and behaviors.

The advantage of having a dedicated chip is that the processing can all happen offline without the need for a network connection. It cuts the time for roundabout communication between the phone and a remote server. More importantly, it also means that the data can all be kept secure on the phone and inside the chip.

While all of these sound great on paper, it has yet to be tested in practice. LG’s phones have always been good with new technologies. Sadly, those have never been enough to boost their sales. Whether these new AI capabilities will be enough to save LG, we’ll have to wait for the next phone to see.


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