Would you use a phone with no apps? One of the world's largest mobile networks believes you will — but I am not totally convinced

Natural AI Phone
(Image credit: Deutsche Telekom)

I have a lot of apps on my phone. How many is ‘a lot’? A quick tot up reveals the number to be an absolutely ridiculous 288. I only use a fraction of those of course, and I should probably have a clear out, but it’s fair to say, I can’t really imagine a phone without apps.

Perhaps that means a new phone concept that’s set to be unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2024 in Barcelona isn’t for me, but then again, maybe it is.

The result of a partnership between Brain.ai, an artificial intelligence company, and Deutsche Telekom, the new app-less phone is powered by Brain.ai’s Natural AI interface, and is designed to ‘humanize’ how people interact with their devices.

Human-centric smartphone

The new phone uses Natural AI to dynamically create interfaces on-demand, eliminating the need for countless apps. The AI acts like a concierge, taking over your tasks and handling the details. However, the question remains; will consumers like me adapt to an app-less world?

“Artificial intelligence and LLMs will soon be an integral part of mobile devices,” said Jonathan Abrahamson, chief product and digital officer at Deutsche Telekom. “Through the partnership with Brain.ai, we can make the digital experience of our customers not only simpler but also more human-like. Our vision is a magenta concierge for an app-free and human-centric smartphone.” 

For the showcase, real-life use cases will be integrated into Deutsche Telekom's T Phone, which is already available. The company will also be showcasing another version of an AI smartphone powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Reference Design. In this model, the AI processing is done on device, reportedly making the AI faster, more energy efficient and better customized to each user.  

Despite what Brain.ai and Deutsche Telekom are saying about the new approach, the transition to an app-less future may not be as smooth as they predict. It remains to be seen whether consumers will embrace this new way of interacting with their devices. We will know more about the new phone concept once Mobile World Congress gets underway.

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Wayne Williams

Wayne Williams is a freelancer writing news for TechRadar Pro. He has been writing about computers, technology, and the web for 30 years. In that time he wrote for most of the UK’s PC magazines, and launched, edited and published a number of them too.