Huawei has revealed that when it arrives in the US, its Mate 9 handset will be the first smartphone equipped with Amazon’s Alexa.
Huawei ripped through several juicy headlines in 2016, between introducing the dual-lens P9 and later the refined Mate 9. Now, the Chinese company has made the surprise decision to equip the latter device with Amazon’s Alexa artificial intelligence when it arrives in the United States.
The move is an odd decision, but certainly one that will generate news appeal – the Mate 9 will subsequently be the very first smartphone that Alexa will be preinstalled on.
While Android phones – even ones skinned as heavily as Huawei’s devices – make use of Google services, the US version of the Mate 9 will instead rely on Alexa to handle voice commands and assistant functions.
The move comes amidst two key junctures; Huawei is aggressively expanding into the US with its mid-range Honor series as well as its self-named flagships, and Google has a tight reign over (arguably) Alexa’s closest competitor: Google Assistant.
While Google has indicated that it will release Assistant across a broader Android clientele in the near future, the company has been reluctant to relieve its Pixel and Pixel XL devices of their primary selling point.
Samsung, similarly, has executed a parallel move; but rather than turn to Amazon’s Alexa, the South Korean chaebol acquired Viv – an artificial intelligence from the makers of Siri – which it could release on the Galaxy S8 under the moniker of ‘Bixby’ or ‘Kestra’.
Thus, when the Mate 9 hits US storefronts, the device will have a unique proposition of its own and will tie into households that already rely on an Echo or Echo Dot unit as the brains of a smart home operation.
What are your thoughts? What AI assistant would you like to see the Mate 9 use? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!