Report: Samsung Working On Specialized AI Chips

September 25, 2017 - Written By Daniel Fuller

Samsung is developing multiple types of mobile chipsets specially made to run AI processes on-device, according to anonymous inside sources. The source says that these new chips will completely eliminate the need to connect to the cloud for any reason within the realm of AI, including data processing horsepower, data storage and recall, and even neural networking. Onboard AI processing capabilities will allow these new chips to run AI assistant programs like Bixby, use machine learning to process data, and run simulated neural networks, all without any kind of communication with a cloud server. Samsung is reportedly already deep into research and development for these new chipsets, and should have them out to market in commercially available consumer devices within the next few years.

Samsung will be competing with Qualcomm, whose Snapdragon 835 mobile chip, used in current generation flagships, is able to run AI operations on-device thanks to machine learning capabilities and full compatibility with Google’s TensorFlow out of the box. The power on offer with Qualcomm’s kit and the new AI might that Samsung wants to offer will also have to compete against Huawei, who recently announced that it plans to roll out AI capabilities on a flagship mobile chipset for the first time with the Kirin 970, which will make its debut inside the Mate 10.

The race to bring powerful and effective onboard AI to the consumer mobile space is clearly on in the chipset world, which means it won’t be very long until applications supporting those capabilities start coming to bear. Already, developers are working on bringing TensorFlow-compatible applications to the Snapdragon 835, Samsung’s Bixby AI assistant is set to be enhanced by the AI features of these upcoming chips, and advanced assistants running on the principles of artificial general intelligence with simple mobile apps as their frontends are on the market. NVIDIA’s AI prowess will likely remain in the realm of connected systems for vehicles and other specialized applications, meaning that Samsung and Huawei jumping into the onboard AI market will leave MediaTek as the only major player in the consumer mobile chip market to not be involved in the world of onboard AI.