Image: Akhram Mohamed, Product Manager at Huawei

CAPE TOWN - Research released last month has revealed that 33% of smartphones will be enabled with artificial intelligence (AI) by 2020.

You don’t have to wait three years to experience the future though. This year saw the release of the first on-device artificial intelligence phones, one of which is the Huawei Mate 10. 

Artificial intelligence looks set to change how we interact with our phones, and what they can do for us.

The difference between the smartphone you have now and a smartphone with on-device AI – also being hailed as a ‘superphone’ – has been compared to the difference between having a dog as a pet and using a guide dog. 

Your pet canine is able to learn the commands you give them and eventually obey them. A guide dog, on the other hand, is able to anticipate a blind person’s behaviours after learning their everyday routines and even show them alternatives that it deems would enable them to accomplish tasks more easily.

Sound good? Here are 4 ways an on-device AI phone can enhance your life right now.
 
1. Your phone will know what you want before you do

Probably one of the most exciting aspects of AI-enabled phones is your device’s ability to learn about you and your phone behaviour.

Our phones have become so integral to our lives that it was inevitable that they would one day be able to predict what we needed before we had to summon Siri or use Google.

 By monitoring what you do on your phone, for example, what features you use most often and when you are most likely to use them. 

Your cell phone is now able to perform tasks in a more intuitive way and personalise your experience. 

This takes a lot of the ‘admin’ out of your life, and helps you use your time more effectively and get more enjoyment out of your phone.

 2. You won’t be left hanging

Using artificial intelligence on your phone is nothing new – for example, voice assistants like Siri or Google Assistant have been simplifying our lives for a while now. 

However, how often have you been left hanging when you’re in an area with poor network coverage? 

Nothing can be more frustrating than losing signal while faithfully following Google Maps to your remote holiday destination. 

The difference with on-device AI is that you can now access these intelligent apps without having to connect to the internet, which means the end of frustration with bad signal and frozen apps. 

The engine behind this little miracle on the Huawei Mate 10 is the Kirin 970, a chip that works continuously to optimise phone performance.

 3.  You won’t be let down by a dying battery

Another long-awaited benefit of these superphones is the extended battery life. We are well aware that, as our phones’ capabilities have expanded, so our battery life has decreased exponentially.

 Most of us have often reminisced nostalgically about how long the battery on our first cellphone would last. 

AI-enabled phones have enhanced battery performance, partly due to the fact that they are not continuously having to access the cloud to process data. 

More importantly though, the phone also intuitively allocates less power to functions that are not being used at the time. 

Only active features being powered, you are able to make far better use of your battery life and consequently, your phone becomes much more energy efficient.

 It also means that you’ll have the same battery performance from the phone on Day 350 as you will on Day 1 when you first use it.

4. Your phone is now also an expert photographer

Phone cameras have come a long way since the days of the 1.3MP. Now, on-device AI means that your smartphone camera is also intuitive and smarter. AI-vision cameras like Huawei’s Mate 10 dual-lens Leica camera scan the environment so that performance and user experience can be optimised. 

These cameras can also identify what they are shooting, even to the extent of distinguishing between a dog and a cat and adjust the image accordingly in real time.

 This means that you get the best quality photo possible whenever you take a shot, as exposure, contrast and saturation are all precisely adjusted. 

For example, a group of people, or a building, or a pic of Table Mountain, will all trigger different settings. It’s perfect for the point-and-shoot photographer who knows very little about taking awesome images.
 
These four exciting enhancements are just a few examples of how AI phones are changing how we interact with our world. 

As we have seen in the past decade, cellphone technology will continue to develop at an accelerated pace over the next few years, and it won’t be long until we wonder how we ever survived without our little AI companions to help us run our lives.  

Akhram Mohamed is a Product manager at Huawei

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE