To be successful in the current technological market you have to create something that cannot be easily replicated by a competitor. It’s easy to see something new drop on the market, only to be copied just a week later by a different brand or producer.
Apple and Google, the two biggest companies out there when it comes to smartphones, have invested a ton of money on machine learning, augmented reality and virtual reality.
To compete with them, you need to have as much computing power and user data, other than people working for you and money to invest. These factors ensure most players in the market can’t really replicate or reverse-engineer what these two giants bring to the table.
One example of how machine learning can be used to improve things, is the camera on the Google’s Pixel 2. Machine learning has been used to turn the lighting limitations every phone camera has to deal with, into a software problems, resolved a little bit at a time, as the camera kept being used and the software accumulated more and more data.
Google’s Assistant is an even better example. Despite running on any device, regardless of hardware, the feature has been accumulating knowledge in regard to Google Maps tips or Youtube suggestions, enhancing your experience by taking advantage of vast amounts of data coming from users all over the world.
Apple, on the other hand, has introduced machine learning in the context of Face ID for the iPhone X, which will learn to recognize you despite of a new haircut, glasses or a hat. As you keep using it, even in low light situations, it will improve and learn to recognize you from different angles and in different situations.
If you think about Samsung or Huawei, with their best Bixby and AI Chips efforts, they still don’t come close to Apple and Google efficiency. That is not just because they don’t have as much resources, but also as they’re lacking the users database to draw from. So, Bixby has proven to be quite a disaster, with machine learning serving as a promise for improvements coming with future updates, while the Huawei AI camera tries its best to enhance your pictures, but comes short of its Pixel competitor.
It is not simply about hardware anymore, with almost any competitor being able to come up with a faster and better phone, at least for a few months before something else comes out. Apple and Google have the resources and user base necessary to keep improving their devices as they are, without needing to launch a new one. This generates an even more solid user base, generating yet more improvements, in a very hard-to-break virtuous circle.