Samsung’s 2018 flagship phones Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9 could feature machine learning chips to offer advanced AI capabilities like Apple’s iPhone X and Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro. Camera quality and OLED screens are no longer the differentiating factors in premium smartphones as all of them have good cameras and good screens. The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9 machine learning chips could help Samsung differentiate its products from rival offerings.
Galaxy Note 9 machine learning chips to be better than iPhone X
Sources familiar with the matter told The Korea Herald that Samsung had nearly completed the development of Neural Processing Units (NPU) or AI chips for servers and mobile phones. Samsung will show off the chip and its various capabilities next month at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) during the unveiling of Galaxy S9. Samsung joined the AI chip race pretty late, but The Korea Herald claims the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9 machine learning chips would be advanced enough to take on Apple and Huawei’s offerings.
Sources told the publication that Samsung’s AI chips for mobile devices had “already reached the technological levels of Apple and Huawei.” The Galaxy Note 9 machine learning chips would be even more advanced as the device is still several months away, giving Samsung some time to improve it further. The recently developed chips will likely find their way into the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus.
The new NPU-equipped Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus would be powered by Snapdragon 845 in the US and China, and Exynos 9810 in the rest of the world. The S9 and its bigger sibling are said to have an improved iris scanner, an Infinity display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. The S9 Plus would sport a dual camera on the back. The fingerprint scanner will be placed below the camera module on both the handsets.
While the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus would have AI capabilities in some form, we will get to experience Samsung’s real AI prowess with the release of Galaxy Note 9 in the second half of this year. Sources told The Korea Herald that Samsung had set up a dedicated team to enhance R&D efforts in AI chip manufacturing. The company is working with researchers at KAIST, Seoul National University, and Pohang University of Science & Technology.
When Samsung announced the Exynos 9810 chips at CES, it mentioned that the chip would bring machine learning features to its flagship phones. It would use neural network-based deep learning to let smartphones recognize people or items in photos for faster image searching and categorization. The Exynos 9810 would bring “depth sensing” and would enable the phones to “scan a user’s face in 3D for hybrid face detection.”
The hybrid face detection would support “realistic face-tracking filters” and “stronger security” when unlocking your device using facial recognition. These features could be similar to Apple’s Face ID, which uses depth mapping for facial recognition. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 would also come with AI capabilities.
Last year, Samsung made a “significant investment” in Chinese AI firm DeePhi Tech, which specializes in developing deep learning algorithms for voice recognition and neural language processing. Following Apple’s introduction of the A11 Bionic chip in last year’s iPhones, Huawei launched the Mate 10 Pro with its HiSilicon Kirin 970 chip that offers similar AI capabilities. The Kirin 970 has an NPU that supports features like image-recognizing Bokeh effect.
Galaxy Note 9 to feature an optical fingerprint sensor, a fully bezel-less display
The Galaxy Note 9 is expected to hit the store shelves in September. It would be Samsung’s first phone to feature an in-display fingerprint sensor. The Korean company has spent years trying to integrate the fingerprint reader under the display panel, but had faced issues related to security and speed. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Samsung would easily overcome these issues in time for the Galaxy Note 9 release.
The Galaxy Note 9 would come with an improved S Pen stylus. Samsung executives have said that the stylus would offer more functionality than its predecessor. The device would be powered by the same Snapdragon 845 and Exynos 9810 chips that would run the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. The Note 9 would feature a dual camera, a USB Type-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and IP68-level waterproofing.
The Galaxy Note 9 could also feature a bezel-less, notch-less display. Samsung’s flagship phones still have slim bezels at the top and bottom. The top bezel is needed to house various sensors and the ear speaker. Apple’s solution was to include a notch on the iPhone X to accommodate the sensors. Samsung may just have found a way to offer a completely bezel-less design without a notch, according to the company’s patents.
Last year, the Korean company filed a patent with the World Intellectual Property Organization. The patent describes a smartphone design that uses holes within the screen to incorporate the front camera, iris scanner, and other sensors. The rumor mill claims the Galaxy Note 9 could be the first phone to feature this technology that places every visible hardware component under the screen. If it happens, the Note 9’s display aspect ratio could go up from 18.5:9 to 21:9.