Mobile World Congress 2024: Xiaomi SU7, AI progress and Android evolves - Hindustan Times
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Mobile World Congress 2024: Xiaomi SU7, AI progress and Android evolves

Feb 26, 2024 01:27 PM IST

Better known for smartphones and smart home ecosystems, Xiaomi has taken an undeniably bold leap of faith by investing heavily on a powerful electric vehicle, the SU7 sedan

The name may suggest it is a showcase of smartphones, but the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona has broadened scope to include a lot more. On the agenda this time are broad themes, including smartphone photography tech, wearables, generative AI, as well as the intersection of mobility with technology and a powerful new EV. Let’s snapshot some important developments.

The Xiaomi SU7 electric vehicle. (Image from Xiaomi)
The Xiaomi SU7 electric vehicle. (Image from Xiaomi)

New phones, beyond phones

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If the potential of a partnership is a barometer, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra (priced at €1,499, or around 1.3 lakh) is primed to set a new benchmark in smartphone photography. It’s been tuned by German photography giants, Leica The camera system builds on a 1-inch sensor and Leica’s Vario-Summilux lens, with four AI imaging models to fine-tune results. A flagship with Qualcomm’s most powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, driving a new and streamlined HyperOS software. There is no confirmation when this phone will make it to India.

For now, Xiaomi 14 is ready to go on sale in India, holding the flagship mantle. It has a Leica tuned three camera setup each 50-megapixels, a telephoto lens and a 1-inch sensor. We expect this to arrive in India for less than 75,000.

There were some cool, albeit limited appeal devices on show too. HMD Global, have made a Barbie flip phone. No pricing, no specs, though we know for sure the partnership is with toymakers Mattel. And also, a second coming for Barbie is unlikely. Here’s one for battery guzzlers – Energizer’s Hard Case P28K is an Android phone with a 28,000mAh capacity battery, which should last a week on a single charge. Samsung is shifting focus to a new form factor for health tracking – a smart ring, called Galaxy Ring.

Generative AI on your devices

For generative AI in phones and PCs, the next frontier is on-device AI processing, rather than the cloud. Qualcomm’s AI Hub for developers unlocks pre-optimized AI models, including for Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for smartphones and Snapdragon X Elite for PCs. This library has more than 75 popular AI and generative AI models, including Whisper, ControlNet, Stable Diffusion, and Baichuan 7B.

Qualcomm AI Research showcased the world’s first on-device use of a 7+ billion parameter large language model (LMM) that can accept text and audio inputs to generate multi-turn conversations. There’s a similar experiment with a Large Language and Vision Assistant (LLaVA) also with more than 7 billion parameters for Android devices.

MediaTek has put final touches to its first on-device generative AI video diffusion, powered only by its flagship 5G mobile processor, Dimensity 9300. It incorporates what they claim is the world’s first hardware-based Generative AI Engine with secure and personalized AI suggestions, whilst being capable of bandwidth reduction, low-rank adaptation (LoRA) Fusion, and up to 8 times faster generative AI performance. Expect more AI phones and AI PCs this year.

Android’s evolving on phone and car

Google wasn’t ready to be outdone in the AI stakes. They have announced a new set of features for Android. These include access to the Gemini AI chatbot within Google’s own Messages app, generating audible AI generated captions for images on screen, enhanced screen reader support for the Lens functionality in Maps and handwritten annotations in Google Docs. Most of this functionality rolls out globally, over the next few days.

With SU7, Xiaomi’s mobility play

Better known for smartphones and smart home ecosystems, Xiaomi has taken an undeniably bold leap of faith by investing heavily on a powerful electric vehicle, the SU7 sedan. Its R&D team is 3400-member strong and 10 billion CNY invested to develop in-house core tech including HyperEngine electric motors that can do up to 35,000 rpm (or revolutions per minute), a highly efficient battery, die-cast rear floor that has 840 less welding joints and Xiaomi Pilot Autonomous Driving, at play. Xiaomi stresses, mobility is a crucial part of its unified software platform.

Smarter cars, around the bend

Chip makers are helping rapidly develop smarter cars. MediaTek and infotainment solutions company Access Twine4Car are working on an interactive multi-screen entertainment solution. MediaTek’s Dimensity Auto smart cockpit and infotainment platforms is at the core, and can deliver concurrent video playbacks, advanced 3D graphics and generative AI.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Auto connectivity platform is adding QCA6797AQ to its arsenal, which becomes the automotive industry’s first Wi-Fi 7 access point solution. Use cases envisioned are faster updates for experiences including in-depth 3D maps, cloud services and media streaming.

Closing the loop is your Android phone. The next set of Android Auto updates, rolling out now, adds an ability for AI to summarise long text messages. It will also suggest relevant replies or actions, based on context of a message, such as sharing your estimated time of arrival with map location, or making a call.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Vishal Mathur is Technology Editor for Hindustan Times. When not making sense of technology, he often searches for an elusive analog space in a digital world.

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