China's Huawei adds Amazon Alexa to flagship phone

January 5, 2017
Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, presents the new Huawei Mate 9 high-end-phablet during the Huawei Global Product Launch in Munich, in November

Chinese tech giant Huawei is adding Amazon's artificial intelligence application Alexa to its flagship smartphone for its US launch.

The number three global smartphone brand, Huawei announced at this week's Consumer Electronics Show that its Mate 9 handset would include the personal developed by Amazon.

The Mate 9, a large-screen "phablet" marketed as a rival to the big handsets from Apple and Samsung, will be available to US buyers in "early 2017," the Chinese firm said at the Las Vegas tech show.

Huawei said this is the first smartphone to pre-install Amazon Alexa, a cloud-based, voice-activated digital assistant that can control smart home devices or respond to questions.

Amazon is making Alexa available to third parties as it seeks to boost its presence in the field with and home automation.

Alexa is battling similar services developed by Google, Microsoft and Apple that can be used on a smartphone or home speaker hub.

Huawei, whose US presence is limited mostly through direct-to-consumer sales of unlocked devices, launched the Mate 9 late last year in Europe and other markets, but without Alexa.

Buyers in those markets will be able to install the Amazon application through an over-the-air update.

The Mate 9, which could get a boost from the woes of Samsung's recalled Note 7 handset, is touted by the company as a high-performance device with fast charging and extended battery life, and upgraded photography with a dual-lens system developed in cooperation with Leica.

Huawei claims its fast computing performance will remain for at least 18 months, and that its chipset is designed with machine learning capabilities to make the phone smarter as it is used.

"Response to Huawei Mate 9 has been extremely positive, resulting in numerous industry awards and accolades," said Zhendong Zhu, president of Huawei Device USA.

"With Mate 9, we set out to improve every element of the smartphone experience, creating a dynamic and powerful device that takes a big step forward in what consumers expect in a smartphone. We're excited to introduce the Mate 9 flagship device to the US market."

The launch was the second in two days at CES for the large Chinese firm. On Tuesday, it unveiled its upgraded mid-range Honor 6x smartphone that will be sold starting this month in 13 markets, including the United States.

Explore further: Global launch by Huawei of new mid-range smartphone

Related Stories

Huawei takes jab at Samsung with 'no explosion' phone

November 3, 2016

Chinese electronics firm Huawei on Thursday unveiled its latest Mate 9 smartphone in Munich, designed to challenge global market leaders Apple and Samsung with features including a high-quality camera and higher-capacity ...

Huawei aims for high end with new smartphones

January 7, 2013

Chinese tech giant Huawei moved further into the high end of the smartphone market on Monday, unveiling two devices for Asian consumers aimed at rivaling the top global sellers.

Recommended for you

Wireless power could enable ingestible electronics

April 27, 2017

Researchers at MIT, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory have devised a way to wirelessly power small electronic devices that can linger in the digestive tract indefinitely after being swallowed. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.