A Smartphone with No Apps? Leave it to AI

The device is equipped solely with an AI-powered personal assistant tasked with carrying out a multitude of practical tasks

By Kushmita Bose

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Published: Mon 29 Apr 2024, 11:56 AM

The emergence of generative AI, initially catalysed by the introduction of ChatGPT, has permeated diverse productivity platforms, revolutionising everyday workflows. Yet, as smartphones become increasingly powerful, they risk falling into a rut of predictability. Fortunately, this trajectory is not inevitable, as tech companies are ambitiously envisioning the future of mobile devices.

The annual ‘Mobile World Congress’ (MWC) in Barcelona serves as a nexus for unveiling cutting-edge connected devices, offering a glimpse into the evolving landscape of smartphones and connectivity. This 2024 edition was no exception, showcasing innovations poised to redefine how we engage with technology. Amidst the array of offerings, one standout concept garnered significant attention: A smartphone with no applications! yes, you heard that right!

Apps streamline our daily routines, allowing us to accomplish a myriad of tasks, from ordering food to trip booking, directly from our smartphones. Now, what if those apps could be replaced by a seamless AI assistant that effortlessly manages every task for you? Let’s break it down.


Deutsche Telekom, in collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, and Brain.ai, unveiled a pioneering smartphone prototype at MWC, devoid of even the slightest application. Instead, the device is equipped solely with an AI-powered personal assistant tasked with carrying out a multitude of practical tasks.

The AI phone, powered by Brain.ai, presents a paradigm shift in how users interact with their mobile devices. Rather than relying on a multitude of apps to perform various tasks, users can now delegate these tasks to a unified AI assistant. This assistant boasts a generative AI interface capable of predicting and executing the necessary steps to achieve user-defined objectives.

"I can tell you that in 5-10 years from now, nobody from us will use apps anymore," said CEO Tim Hoettges in a keynote presentation at the MWC tech conference in Barcelona.

For instance, the process of booking a trip, which normally involves navigating through multiple apps, can now be seamlessly handled by the AI assistant. Users simply need to articulate their request via voice or text, and it would take the necessary steps to do so, without you having to open any apps.

“Arrange a flight for me to the quarterfinals. The intelligent assistant obeys your query simply by voice command. This showcase highlights how an AI-powered smartphone can streamline tasks like trip planning, shopping, video creation, and photo editing with concrete examples. The AI functionality is hosted in the cloud, ensuring an authentic and seamless user experience while remaining accessible even on entry-level smartphones. The partners’ joint development teams are continually refining this concept, with prototypes showcased at the trade fair offering a glimpse into a potential future. However, it will take time until they are available for customers in the store.

Jon Abrahamson, Chief Product & Digital Officer at Deutsche Telekom, expressed confidence in the impending integration of artificial intelligence and Large Language Models (LLM) into mobile devices. He envisions a “magenta concierge" for app-free smartphones—a practical companion enriching daily life and simplifying digital life.

The Smartphone at a Glance

The futuristic smartphone showcased through the company's ‘T-phone’ device aims to redefine how users interact with their mobile phones. Instead of relying on multiple apps for diverse tasks, this concept phone employs AI to address specific user requirements.

Here's how it operates:

The AI-driven assistant, resembling a digital concierge, comprehends users' goals and manages the details. Here are some examples:

  • Quick Responses: It offers intelligent answers and suggestions in response to user queries.
  • Personalised Recommendations: Whether suggesting travel destinations or aiding users in making informed purchases, the AI adapts to individual preferences.
  • Seamless Media Sharing: Users can effortlessly share photos and videos with contacts without needing to navigate through separate applications.

Telekom's AI phone will be powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor; however, the AI processing will be done on the device, making it fast and easy. Moreover, the technology used in the AI phone promises to bring a personalised experience for users.

Real-life use cases were integrated into Telekom's T Phone, highlighting the Group's dedication to bringing innovations on devices that are already in the market, and ensuring accessibility for all users.

— kushmita@khaleejtimes.com

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