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Oh look, there’s something else Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Note 9 will copy from the iPhone

Galaxy S9 vs. iPhone X

Samsung will release three exciting Android flagships this year, including the Galaxy S9/S9+ and Galaxy Note 9. But it still feels like Samsung is playing catch-up with the iPhone in so many ways.

A new report reveals yet another thing the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 will copy from the iPhone. And there’s no way to argue otherwise.

The Galaxy S9 will be a “boring” successor to the Galaxy S8 regarding design, but the device will sport various improvements when it comes to hardware and camera performance. 
One of the phone’s new components is a neural network chip whose development is nearly completed, according to The Korea Herald. The Galaxy S9 and Note 9 are expected to adopt these NPUs that apparently aim to outdo similar solutions from Apple and Huawei.

The chips can be used in smartphones and servers, the report notes, to boost things like AI and machine learning capabilities in software running on these devices. Neural engines are particularly useful for processing data produced on a phone, without the need to connect to the cloud to perform various AI tasks.

“For mobile devices, Samsung has already reached the technological levels of Apple and Huawei, but will come up with better chips for sure in the second half of the year,” a source said, suggesting the Galaxy Note 9 will get an even better NPU than the Galaxy S9 that’s due to hit stores in mid-March.

Could Samsung have created these chips before Apple and Huawei came out with theirs? Maybe. But the company reportedly only started working on them in the second half of last year, which would explain why the Galaxy Note 9 might get a better neural engine than the Galaxy S9. At the same time, the source said that “although the company has been somewhat late in the AI field, it was quite fast in catching up with competitors.”

“Still, it is too early to compare the performances of AI chips by Samsung, Apple, and Huawei, because the market has just been formed,” the source added. “Apple claims that its NPU has reached 600 in giga operations per second, while Huawei says 4 in tera operations per second. Samsung’s is estimated to be similar or slightly higher at the moment.”

What does the iPhone X’s neural engine do? It powers machine learning features, like recognizing people and objects, and it makes Face ID and Animoji possible.

Samsung is expected to demo some NPU capabilities during the Galaxy S9 press event in late February, with a more capable NPU set to debut with the Note 9 in September. A report did say Samsung could unveil some sort of Galaxy AI UX for the Galaxy S9, and the unnamed neural processing unit that Samsung has created will probably play a big role.

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.