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Qualcomm, Baidu form AI partnership to optimize DuerOS for Snapdragon

Qualcomm's collaboration with Baidu will bring AI for voice enabled solutions to the new Snapdragon 845 mobile platform.

Qualcomm on Wednesday introduced Snapdragon 845, its next-generation mobile platform (Image: Qualcomm).

Qualcomm and Baidu have formed a strategic collaboration to optimize Baidu's DuerOS conversational AI system and create a better AI voice and smart assistant solution for smartphones and IoT devices, the duo announced Thursday.

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Details of the collaboration were shared at Qualcomm's Technology Summit in Hawaii. The partnership with Baidu, the Beijing-based search engine giant that develops the Chinese version of Google, will give OEMs capabilities "to deliver AI voice solutions on their devices with improved user experience and faster time-to-market," Qualcomm explained.

Launched in 2015, DuerOS is a conversational AI system found in mobile phones, TV set-top boxes, and smart speakers. The focus will be optimizing DuerOS technologies for Qualcomm's Aqstic hardware and software, which provide the system with always-on, low power, voice activation and echo cancellation and noise suppression.

On Wednesday, Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon 845 platform that will be found in 2018 flagship smartphones. Qualcomm said Snapdragon 845 will be part of the DuerOS optimization, and for the coming year, the center point. Specifics about smartphones that will run the new chipset haven't been shared, but have been promised for early 2018.

"The collaboration with Baidu will bring AI for voice enabled solutions to next-generation Snapdragon mobile platforms, allowing users to wakeup smartphones and IoT devices using their voice in their natural language at any time and at extremely low power, while utilizing Baidu's DuerOS voice services," Keith Kressin, SVP of product management at Qualcomm, said.

Baidu recently unveiled a voice-controlled smart speaker and two home robots running the Duer software.

Activation of DuerOS is achieved by saying the phrase "Xiaodu Xiaodu." Like Amazon, Google, Apple, and other voice assistant players, Baidu has formed "skills" partners to give users access to popular apps and services.

Qualcomm on Thursday also announced a "non-exclusive" design agreement with BlackBerry to optimize select Qualcomm hardware for BlackBerry's QNX software for use in virtual cockpit controllers, telematics, electronic control gateways and infotainment systems.