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Chinese Smartphone Maker Oppo Leverages Andes GPT for AI Services

In this post:

  • Oppo integrates Andes GPT into its Breeno AI assistant to enhance user experiences with new features.
  • Collaboration with the University of Science and Technology of China and plans to open-source Andes GPT.
  • Competition in the AI space as companies like Xiaomi, Vivo, Huawei, and Apple explore generative AI applications.

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Oppo has made a significant move into the artificial intelligence (AI) arena by integrating its Andes GPT large language model into its Breeno AI assistant. The company announced this development, signaling its ambition to tap into the growing AI boom that has been initiated by models like ChatGPT. Oppo’s strategy involves deploying Andes GPT to enhance the functionality of its smartphones and operating systems, with plans to provide new features to current users through system upgrades. These features will encompass various aspects of daily life, including assistance with email composition, meeting summaries, music creation, and photo editing.

Collaboration with the University of Science and Technology of China

Oppo’s journey into AI has been a collaborative effort, with the company partnering closely with the University of Science and Technology of China to develop and train the Andes GPT model. Liu Heifeng, President of Oppo’s AI and data engineering system, emphasized the importance of this collaboration and revealed the company’s intention to make the Andes GPT model open-source, allowing developers to explore its potential across various applications. Among the applications currently in development is one that transforms the AI assistant into a personal knowledge database by processing and organizing notes, reports, and other information fed into it by users.

Commitment to AI research and development

Jason Liao, head of the Oppo Research Institute, underlined the company’s long-standing dedication to AI research and development. Oppo has placed significant engineering and research efforts into AI, particularly in building its large language model, which serves as the foundation for generative AI applications like ChatGPT. Liao indicated that the initial release of AI-enabled applications will cater to local users in China but has plans to expand to English-speaking users and other markets in the future.

Performance testing and competition

To validate the capabilities of its Andes GPT model, Oppo conducted extensive testing with users in China, inviting them to use the Breeno AI assistant for tasks such as songwriting and answering questions. Oppo reported that in a public test against SuperCLUE, a benchmark for large language models designed for the Chinese language, Andes GPT surpassed its Chinese counterparts, including those from tech giants Baidu and Alibaba Group Holding. However, it fell short of OpenAI’s GPT-4, demonstrating the competitive landscape within the AI sector.

Rise of generative AI in consumer electronics

Many consumer electronics manufacturers and chip developers are increasing their efforts to integrate generative AI into smartphones, personal computers, and other devices. Notably, Oppo’s key chip suppliers, Qualcomm and MediaTek, have announced their chips’ capabilities to run large language models on devices, thereby offloading heavy computing workloads typically handled by cloud servers. Despite these advancements, some industry experts, including Baidu co-founder Robin Li, have expressed concerns about the proliferation of large language models in China without a corresponding surge in truly useful AI applications.

Competition in the AI space

Oppo faces competition from its industry peers, including Xiaomi and Vivo, which are also developing their large language models. Beyond China, VNG in Vietnam is actively working on AI technology, akin to ChatGPT. Huawei has also entered the AI race, aiming to incorporate AI into consumer electronics and provide enterprise computing solutions for various industries. Huawei’s AI hardware, featuring the Ascend chip and related platform, could potentially challenge products from U.S.-based chip developer Nvidia, which are subject to U.S. export controls. Apple, too, is making strides in integrating generative AI into its applications.

Challenges and ecosystem maturation

Despite the hardware readiness of many companies to train and employ their own language models, the development of compelling and widely adopted generative AI applications remains a challenge. Jeff Pu, a tech analyst with Haitou Securities, echoed the sentiment expressed by Baidu’s Robin Li, suggesting that the AI ecosystem needs time to mature fully. Pu highlighted Apple’s potential advantage in the AI race, citing its control over both hardware and software as a significant factor.

Oppo research institute’s multifaceted approach

The Oppo Research Institute, responsible for spearheading the company’s pioneering research and development efforts, has a diverse range of focus areas. These include 6G technology, augmented reality, and battery technology. The institute boasts a team of approximately 1,000 scientists and engineers, primarily based in Shenzhen but with additional teams in various Chinese cities, Japan, and the United States. Jason Liao indicated that Oppo is open to expanding its research workforce in Southeast Asia, acknowledging the region’s abundant pool of tech talent.

As Oppo dives deeper into the world of AI with its Andes GPT model, it joins the ranks of tech giants striving to harness the potential of generative AI to revolutionize consumer electronics and beyond. While challenges persist, the company’s commitment to research and development, coupled with its innovative collaborations, positions it to play a prominent role in the evolving AI landscape.

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