Humane, the interesting start-up founded by former Apple and Microsoft employees , presented its AI Pin to the world last night. A discreet and small device powered by artificial intelligence and with a clear purpose: to lead the race of those gadgets that want to replace the mobile phone.
The problem, perhaps, is that there are a number of companies running a race without knowing exactly where the finish line is. What are the real limitations of the smartphone? How many of these products solve them? What are the problems they solve?
The AI Pin and its concept. A pin is full of technology, with basic telephone functions and a small virtual projection to act as a panel. The concept is different, peculiar, and interesting. This small PIN allows you to receive calls via mobile network, respond to messages, capture images, and perform functions thanks to the integrated voice assistant powered by AI. Almost, almost a phone.
But it’s not a phone, even if it wants to cost like one . 699 dollars to which must be added a subscription of 24 dollars per month (no less than 288 dollars annually). Perhaps a high cost for a device that does not solve what phones have been trying to solve for years: having everything, absolutely everything, in your pocket.
The AI Pin doesn’t have a larger than six-inch AMOLED screen on which you can watch Netflix. It also does not have a Sony IMX sensor with a lot of megapixels in which you can immortalize whatever you want. You can’t even adjust the color temperature of the projection to comfortably read the news or a book.
There is no problem with this, but to beat the telephone it may not be enough to propose a radically different (and much more limited) use of it. Perhaps the plan is to avoid losing functionalities and gaining some others.
There are more ambitious concepts in the race to create that all-in-one device, such as the Apple Vision Pro. Very high-resolution glasses, with the power of a PC, the applications and games of any mobile phone, and the great handicap that they are designed to never be taken out of the house.
Despite this great limitation that leads them to be an inevitable complement to the telephone and perhaps turn more towards a substitute for the PC, they are a product that at the level of functionality (multimedia, calls, games, productivity) does what a mobile rival should do the same.
Without being as intrusive as the concept of an augmented reality helmet that so many manufacturers have been exploring for years (and that Apple has decided to take to another concept now), the issue of smart glasses has always been on the table. Google ended up throwing in the towel with theirs , manufacturers like OPPO do not take them out of China, and others like TCL promised some NXTWear S in Spain that we know nothing about.
At the moment, the only fairly realistic alternative on the horizon to replace traditional phones is to make the screens flexible to solve the problem of carrying an almost seven-inch beast in your pocket. There are many ways of doing it. From rolling the phone around your wrist as proposed by Motorola’s latest idea to simply folding your phone in half so that it takes up… half.