LIVE FROM CES 2017, LAS VEGAS: Amazon’s intelligent assistant Alexa – a major talking point at this year’s CES – is to make its debut on smartphones following a deal with Huawei.
During his keynote this afternoon, the head of Huawei’s consumer business group, Richard Yu, announced that its flagship Mate 9 will be the first smartphone to support the service.
The move marks the first time that Alexa has been preinstalled on a phone, and there’s a sense of irony given that the Mate 9 runs Google’s Android operating system (Google has its own Google Assistant service).
The preinstalled app will be capable of all the usual Alexa tasks – setting alarms, making to-do lists, getting news and weather information, controlling smart home applications and requesting an Uber ride.
Huawei’s Yu said the company is hoping to enable the voice assistant service by the end of Q1 (March).
Existing Mate 9 owners will be able to access the service via an over-the-air update.
Separately, Huawei also announced that the Mate 9 smartphone – a global success – will arrive in the US January 6 for $599.99.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) was a major theme of Yu’s keynote. He reiterated a previous idealogy from Huawei that a smartphone, combined with AI, will create an “intelligent phone.”
Yu was also joined on stage by Amit Singh, VP of business and operations for VR and AR at Google, who updated on the company’s Daydream VR initiative. “The Mate 9 Pro and Mate 9 Porsche Design are now Daydream ready,” he declared, adding that Google is also working closely with Huawei on its Project Tango AR initiative.