Huawei is seemingly inching toward entering the smart TV market, according to new intellectual property documentation reviewed by AndroidHeadlines. The company filed to protect the term "Huawei AI Window," describing the moniker as being associated with LCD panels and smart television sets. Reports from earlier this year claimed that Huawei will use the Honor brand for its intelligent TV debut, with the new development suggesting the opposite, though an Honor-branded TV still isn't out of the question; one such device was technically already launched in the form of the Honor A55 back in 2014. There's currently no indication that Huawei is planning to commercialize OLED TVs in the near future.
Background: Huawei has been around for decades before it became known for its Android-powered smartphones in the West. The first model named the U8220 was introduced in 2009 and since then, Huawei continued to increase in popularity in the consumer world primarily for mobile devices, ranging from smartphones to tablets and wearables, as well as its broadband solutions. In recent years, Huawei also gained an interest in developing AI tech and some of those efforts have taken shape within the HiSilicon Kirin chipsets. Evidently, some form of AI should be involved in the OEM’s upcoming smart TVs but only time will tell if those will rely on the Android TV platform, a proprietary solution, or both. Just last month, Huawei revealed that it’s developing a new AI voice assistant intended for the global market but its solution isn’t ready for deployment just yet, so it’s likely that the incoming smart TV series will integrate Google Assistant and/or Amazon Alexa in order to provide voice-activated searches and queries to consumers, assuming it's launched within the next six months, which the timing of the newly unveiled IP documentation suggests.
Impact: Several smartphone manufacturers already have a presence in the smart TV market, including Samsung and LG, but these technology giants have had a share of the TV cake since before contemporary smartphones existed. Samsung and LG are also two of the largest display manufacturers in the world, and their panels are being used in a wide range of commercial and industrial-grade products. It’s even possible that Huawei will acquire its LCD panels for its smart TV series from one of these two Korean giants. Having said that, one of Huawei’s biggest rivals and direct competitors in the segment will be Xiaomi. The Chinese OEM became extremely popular through its smartphone business but it also develops and retails consumer electronics – including TVs – through its numerous subsidiaries, as well as its own brand. Likewise, Huawei is primarily known for its mobile devices and will likely leverage the brand’s recognition to try and make its new TV business successful. The use of the Huawei branding instead of Honor also suggests that the OEM could initially have a bigger focus on Asia before launching its smart TVs in the western hemisphere. As to when the first smart Huawei TV will be released, earlier reports hinted at a 2018 timeframe which might no longer be possible, but the OEM may unveil its new lineup early next year at CES or MWC.