The future of AI phones? Prototype of app-free handset to be unveiled this month


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Forward-looking: Companies are rushing to add more AI smarts into their phones, but this technology is still mostly used for tasks like photo editing and translation processes. The end goal might be a phone that doesn't need any apps at all, and a prototype of such a device will be shown later this month.

There are plenty of interesting devices on show at Barcelona's Mobile World Congress, which this year runs from February 26 to February 29. This year, one of these will be an AI phone from Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile's majority shareholder.

Built alongside Qualcomm and, the T Phone promises to act like a digital concierge, understanding all your goals and taking care of your needs. We've heard similar promises from virtual assistants before, but in this case, the phone has no installed apps.

Deutsche Telekom says this ability is made possible by the phone's generative interface powered by It takes over the functions of a wide range of apps, carrying out daily tasks that would normally require several apps to be installed on a device. The system is controlled "intuitively" using voice and text commands.

"Artificial intelligence and Large Language Models (LLM) will soon be an integral part of mobile devices. We will use them to improve and simplify the lives of our customers. Our vision is a magenta concierge for an app-free smartphone. A real everyday companion that fulfills needs and simplifies digital life," said Jon Abrahamson, Chief Product & Digital Officer Deutsche Telekom.

Jerry Yue, founder and CEO of Brain Technologies, makes a good point when he says that despite the first iPhone launching 14 years ago, the way we interact with handset software has changed little since then. He also notes how for all the advancements in AI, average everyday consumers aren't seeing dramatic changes as a result.

Yue says Brain's Natural software means apps come to you, rather than users having to search through pages of apps looking for the best one.

The AI processing in the T Phone is done in the cloud, but Deutsche Telekom is also showcasing another version of an AI smartphone powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. This phone will boast on-device AI processing, something that Apple is expected to unveil in its iPhone 16 this year.

We have seen digital assistants in the past that promise the ability to book tables and flights while also performing other tasks just by asking it, but the T Phone appears to be a lot more advanced, and the absence of apps is certainly interesting. The fact that the Rabbit R1 AI-powered companion device sold 10,000 units on day 1 suggests there is a potential market for this sort of thing. We'll find out if it lives up these claims at MWC.

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I'm sure this phone will have all the drawbacks of phones with Apps. After all, how could it possibly help you if it was not gathering all kinds of information on you all the time? This is simply a way, IMO, to make spying on every user all the time acceptable.

IMO, the guy from Deutsche Telekom sounds like he is having a wet dream that, IMO, can be interpreted as the AI Fad and how much profit he thinks they are going to make from it.

I bet it will be very expensive to satisfy that wet dream.

No more walled gardens? I’m in.
IMO, there's a walled garden here. It just pretends not to be there.
As a German, I have to say that anyone who truly believes Deutsche Telekom won't mess up this time is clearly out of touch with reality.
It's Deutsche Telekom, duh.
The only certainty you can count on is to lower your expectations.
No more walled gardens? I’m in.

I really doubt it... a feature could be focused on AIs on iPhones and others on Android phones... Just like happens with apps nowadays. They will always try to protect their ecosystems... Even if one AI solution be agnostic and support any mobile/desktop OS, they can make it exclusive for a platform for a while.