Honor’s new ‘intent-based UI’ lets you order food and taxis with just one swipe

Honor Magic OS 8 interface
(Image credit: Honor)

Update (30/01): Honor has now confirmed the Honor Magic 6 series will debut at MWC 2024 on February 25. The brand's keynote is scheduled to kick off at 1pm GMT / 8am ET / 5am PT, and you can tune in via Honor's website.

Former Huawei subsidiary Honor has officially unveiled its Magic OS 8 update, and with it a suite of new AI-powered features that tease the potential road ahead for rival mobile operating systems.

Based on Android 14 and set to debut with the Honor Magic 6 series in the coming months, Magic OS 8 is built around what Honor describes as the “world’s first intent-based UI.” What does that mean, exactly? Well, instead of acting upon request, Magic OS 8 uses a feature called Magic Portal to render services according to user intentions. 

In essence, it’s a shortcut feature that lets users switch between apps and services with a single swipe. For instance, if you’re sent some location information by a friend and want to get to that location in a hurry, Magic Portal will let you drag those details – in one fell swoop – from the messages app across into a compatible ride-hailing or navigation app, saving you clicks in the process. Still confused? Check out Magic Portal in action via the video below.

At the time of writing, Magic Portal supports over 100 apps in China across categories including travel, productivity, entertainment and shopping. When Honor’s new Magic 6 phones – and thus Magic OS 8 – launch in Europe (more on their potential release date below), this support will presumably expand to popular, app-owning Western brands like Uber and Starbucks.

Honor says its intent-based UI “can interpret language, images, gestures and eye movements to understand a user’s intent and offer services proactively.” This “innovative process,” according to the brand, “streamlines otherwise complex user operations for a more user-friendly, convenient experience.”

We’ve covered the eye-tracking functionality of the Honor Magic 6 already. In layman’s terms, you’ll be able to navigate certain parts of the Honor Magic 6 interface (specifically, a Dynamic Island-like digital cut-out at the top of the phone’s display) using only your eyes, in a similar manner to Apple Vision Pro

At Snapdragon Summit 2023, Honor shared a render of this eye-tracking functionality in action. In the short clip (above), a woman can be seen opening the Uber app by changing the direction of her gaze, which is a slightly bonkers extension of the brand’s aforementioned swipe-based Magic Portal feature.

The Honor Magic 6 and its siblings, the Honor Magic 6 Lite and Honor Magic 6 Pro, debuted in China on January 12, but we could see at least two of these new phones released in Europe as soon as February.

Honor Magic 6 release date announcement

(Image credit: Honor)

Indeed, since the original publication of this article, Honor has confirmed that the Magic 6 series will debut at MWC 2024. As per the promotional image above, the brand's keynote is scheduled to kick off at 1pm GMT / 8am ET / 5am PT, and you can tune in via Honor's website.

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Axel Metz
Senior Staff Writer

Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.