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80% of smartphones to have onboard AI capabilities by 2022 - Gartner

By Liu Hongzuo - on 8 Jan 2018, 4:27pm

80% of smartphones to have onboard AI capabilities by 2022 - Gartner

Huawei Mate10, an example of a 2017 smartphone with on-device AI.

By 2022, 80% of smartphones will come shipped with on-device AI capabilities, according to an estimate found in Gartner's report.

As it currently stands, on-device AI is reserved for premium smartphone models, with approximately 10% of shipped devices having it in 2017. 

Gartner Inc. differentiates cloud-based smartphone AI from onboard AI since the research firm believes that the latter provides better data protection and power management than the former. 

"With smartphones increasingly becoming a commodity device, vendors are looking for ways to differentiate their products," said CK Lu, research director at Gartner. "Future AI capabilities will allow smartphones to learn, plan and solve problems for users. This isn't just about making the smartphone smarter, but
augmenting people by reducing their cognitive load. However, AI capabilities on smartphones are still in very early stages."

Gartner also posits 10 uses for smartphone AI that can change user behavior shortly:

  • Pre-empt user behavior, based on what the phone understands (similar to smart homes that prepare to air-condition the place before the user arrives)
  • Heightened smartphone security by combining multiple technologies - for instance, granting access based on the user's gait while walking, and authenticating based on user habits (amount of pressure applied when swiping, scrolling, and using the phone).
  • Emotion recognition with affecting computing to provide better virtual personal assistants, similar to how smart cars gauge the driver's fatigue and attention levels.
  • Understanding slang and natural language to better predict user behavior and provide more accurate offline translation while abroad.
  • Enhanced device management - such as shutting down of unused apps to preserve battery and save memory. 
  • Personal profiling - such as providing insurance firms with a phone user's driving habits to get a better rate (just like Nosedive episode from Netflix's Black Mirror series, where the user's social rating affects their socioeconomic status).
  • Content censorship and detection for governance and security. 
  • Personal photography, where the phone compensates for a user's photography skills, with further enhancements based on the user's preferred aesthetics.
  • Real-world audio tracking, where the phone can change its behavior based on what it hears (i.e. user is snoring after midnight, phone enters Do Not Disturb mode until 6 A.M.)

More insights can be gleaned from Gartner's report, "Market Insight: 10 Use Cases for AI-Powered Smartphones to Generate New Business Opportunities", but the document requires permission to access.