Chinese smartphone maker Honor has confirmed that future handsets will include Google’s AI tech, despite geopolitical tensions with the United States.

Honor announced on Wednesday “upcoming Gen-AI experiences with Google Cloud, which are set to be featured on its anticipated smartphones, opening up exciting possibilities for enhancing user experiences.”

A spokesperson for the Chinese firm has confirmed to CNBC this would include Google’s AI assistant Gemini, as well as Imagen 2, a text-to-image generation tool.

Image credit Google

Google AI

Honor is a standalone Chinese smartphone maker focused on the more budget conscious sector, after it was spun out of former parent Huawei back in 2020.

It announced on Wednesday that As part of it’s Four-Layer AI Architecture, it is “set to integrate cutting-edge Gen-AI experiences, powered by Google Cloud, into its upcoming smartphones, promising to deliver a new level of intelligence and innovation to users with enhanced privacy protection.”

Honor will integrate generative AI experiences into its forthcoming hardware, which will be powered by Google Cloud, the company said.

“At Honor, we firmly believe that, by combining the power of on-device AI’s personalisation, intuitiveness, and privacy protection, everyone can unlock the full potential of AI safely and securely,” said George Zhao, CEO of Honor Device Co. Ltd.

“We are also delighted to forge ahead with Google Cloud, leveraging our combined expertise to unlock the potential of this hybrid approach and deliver even more seamless AI experiences to our users,” said Zhao.

Honor is among a number of smartphone makers that have committed to use Google’s AI tools.

In January, Samsung announced a partnership with Google Cloud to bring Gemini Pro and Imagen 2 to its Galaxy S24, S24 Plus and S24 Ultra series.

Android OS

Honor runs the MagicOS on its devices, which it developed from the Android-derived mobile operating system.

Smartphone manufacturers are increasingly seeking to bring AI features to their phones, in effort to increase consumer uptake of the handsets.

The move by a Chinese phone manufacturer to integrate American AI technology comes despite geopolitical tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The United States has already banned the export of AI chips to China, and earlier this month it was reported that the Biden Administration was considering restricting China and Russia’s access to AI models found in tools such as ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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