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Will OpenAI build its own AI smartphone?

Key personnel have been spotted discussing the possibility of a new AI hardware device.

Published onSeptember 27, 2023

OpenAI on website on smartphone stock photo (1)
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • A report suggests that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and ex-Apple designer Jony Ive have discussed possibly building a “new AI hardware device.”
  • The report is vague on details, but to us, an AI-first smartphone would be the best vehicle to get AI into the hands of more people.

Smartphone companies have begun dipping into AI as a smartphone-adjacent tech, which makes sense. The best smartphones these days use on-device AI and machine learning to power plenty of smart experiences. If smartphone makers can dabble with AI, can AI companies dabble with smartphones? A new report suggests that OpenAI’s CEO probably had the same thoughts.

According to a report from The Information citing people familiar with the conversations, OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, met up with his friend and renowned ex-Apple designer, Jony Ive, to discuss the possibility of building a “new AI hardware device.” Investment group SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son is also said to have talked to both about the idea.

The report is vague on details and does not mention the outcome of these conversations. It is also unknown if the three individuals have decided to collaborate on this idea or if any combination of them is taking it forward.

Further, it is also not immediately clear if the “new AI hardware device” is a smartphone. But given Jony Ive’s vast expertise with the iPod and the iPhone (amongst other Apple products), a smartphone presents itself as the best path forward to us for an AI-first product. It is also unclear if the device will be created by OpenAI or another company.

OpenAI is best known for creating ChatGPT, the AI chatbot that excels at natural language processing. This skill quickly catapulted ChatGPT to fame, as users could converse seamlessly with the AI tool and find answers to all their questions.

ChatGPT’s success prompted Microsoft to invest $10 billion and enter into a commercial partnership with OpenAI, allowing Microsoft to use the underlying technology in its own Bing Chat. This, in turn, has given Microsoft an edge against its peers like Google and Apple in the AI race.

To us, it makes sense that the next logical step for OpenAI would be to bring its AI prowess directly into the hands of consumers worldwide, and a smartphone would be the best vehicle for it. That is, unless AI thinks otherwise.

Would you buy an AI-first smartphone from OpenAI?

87 votes