Telekom’s AI Phone wants to lead smartphones into a future without apps

In the run-up to the Mobile World Congress 2024, Deutsche Telekom made the big announcement: “Telekom wants to free smartphones from apps”. For this project, the group teamed up with the chip developer Qualcomm and the AI ​​startup Brain AI.

Natural AI: AI smartphone creates interface for every request

Brain AI boss Jerry Yue at the Telekom stand. (Photo: t3n)

As Deutsche Telekom explained at MWC, the AI ​​smartphone should make the use of individual apps unnecessary. Brain AI’s AI, known as Natural AI, is able to create its own interface for each request or task and thus take on a number of tasks for you.

The smartphone and the software are currently still understood as a concept, so the scope of the functions demonstrated at the MWC is quite manageable: on the one hand, flight connections to various destinations and times were searched for using voice commands, and on the other hand, people started looking for gifts for People of different ages.

Demo of the concept AI phone at the Deutsche Telekom stand at MWC. (Photo: t3n)

After a successful search, it is then possible to book a flight via the interface or place an order directly, for example from Amazon. Unfortunately, it is currently unclear how Natural AI accesses the access data of the respective platforms. It is clear that payment can be made via Google Pay.

Telekom’s AI phone is so far only a concept

So far, the AI ​​smartphone from Telekom and the partners involved is not a specific device. The product shown is based on Telekom’s T-Phone, which is equipped with a current Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip from Qualcomm. On the software side, the device is based on Android, which is equipped with an AI interface that Brain AI boss Jerry Yue describes as a “Large Action Model” (LAM).

In a sense, the aim of LAM is to learn and replace the tasks of other apps in order to make applications superfluous in the long term. During a showcase at the Telekom stand, Yue explained that today’s apps are still stuck in the Yahoo era. The Natural AI system is intended to change smartphone use as radically as Google revolutionized search and the Internet.

AI-Phone can do more than just voice input

During the on-stage demonstration, the CEO simply showed the interface that enabled voice input. However, since this is a multimodal model, entries can also be made via text input. This means that the Natural interface can also be used where voice commands are inappropriate.

Telekom CEO Timo Höttges and Volker Wissing, Federal Minister for Digital and Transport, also showed interest in the AI ​​phone. (Photo: t3n)

The current status of the AI ​​phone includes more than just the natural interface: a swipe from the interface still brings up the familiar app overview of an Android smartphone. It is unclear whether this will be different in a future form. It is currently said that they want to give users the freedom to choose between the Natural interface and apps.

By the way, the Natural interface is neither completely new nor exclusive to Telekom. Brain AI had already announced the Natural AI app in 2020. In Apple’s App Store you can the app already downloaded and installed on iPhones. In contrast to the iPhone app, processes on a future AI phone – like on the concept device demonstrated – should take place partly in the cloud, but also partly directly on the smartphone, which means that actions take place faster and also more securely are.

The company leaves it open when a market-ready, app-free AI smartphone, as Deutsche Telekom imagines, can be expected. What’s interesting about it, however, is that it is in a sense a mixture of the Rabbit R1 and a classic smartphone – and therefore combines all the advantages and disadvantages of the form factors.

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