Sam Altman-Backed Humane AI Pin Is Both Interesting and Futuristic, but It Won’t Replace Your Phone

Liem Soeng

Sam Altman-Backed Humane AI Pin Is Both Interesting and Futuristic, but It Won’t Replace Your Phone

Ever since the Humane AI Pin was first announced, people have been curious whether it could replace smartphones someday. The device was also mentioned in Time’s “Best Inventions of 2023”, and finally, we spent some time with it in the hands-on zone of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. While we didn’t use it independently, an extended demo where company representatives talked about all the features and demoed most of them gave us a sneak peek into the future of mobile devices, but at the same, it also felt that the AI Pin isn’t ready to replace your smartphone just yet. 

The square-shaped screen-less device has been designed by ex-Apple employees, and it is currently available for pre-order in the US for $699 (roughly Rs. 60,000). It is like a full-blown device minus a screen and is attached to the user’s chest with the help of a magnet. You can interact with the device with the help of hand gestures, and the best is it has a projector that can beam display for the menu and more on your hands using the company’s Laser Ink Display. The demo looked fantastic, with the Humane employee showcasing various use cases, such as asking about a particular city and weather conditions. The AI Pin can pick up gestures mid-air, which makes it great for practical use.

Another thing that we liked is the fact that it supports E-SIM, which makes it a standalone device. There are multiple ways the AI Pin comes into use, be it for checking information about something or typing texts. The Humane AI Pin can also pair with your smart speakers and play music via Tidal. During the demo, one of the Humane employees showed us various features and added that AI Pin can translate about 50 languages, which is fantastic.

The small square-shaped device can hear and respond to the user through small speakers. The company currently claims up to five hours of battery life. However, the backup can be enhanced with a battery booster accessory. 

humane ai pin2 Humane AI Pin

The attention to detail is very apparent like the presence of a Single RGB LED light on the device while it is attached to the chest, which lights up to show when the device is functional. If you loved playing with the laser during childhood, your love is back. The voice is the main play here as there’s no touchscreen to interact with – also a central theme of the Humane AI Pin. 

Apart from voice, users can also interact using the touchpad on the front side. As the name suggests, AI backs the entire package and keeps you on top of everything – from your email to text messages to reminders and more. 

humane ai pin4 Humane AI Pin

In about an hour that we spent looking at different demos shown by Humane employees at the MWC booth of Qualcomm and asking multiple questions related to AI Pin, there were a few observations that we believe are applicable in real-world usage. For, the display on your palm is easy to read, tilting and rolling your hand to interact with the display is easy to understand, close your fingers to make a selection is again an easy gesture to interact with; the interpreter is loud, considering we were in a large hall and there was ambient noise around. The AI Pin also has a camera that captures a photo by double-tapping the touchpad with two fingers. 

humane ai pin press AI Pin

Now we reach the million-dollar question: can Humane AI Pin replace smartphones? No. Imran Chaudhri, President and Chairman of Humane, stressed during a short conversation with Gadgets 360 that it is more of a companion device than one that is designed to replace your smartphone. What AI Pin can do is minimise your interaction with your smartphone because you can get so much done with the small square-shaped screenless device with just your voice. 

Sam Altman-backed Humane has already revealed its intention to bring the AI Pin to India, as confirmed to Moneycontrol. This will be an interesting move because Humane, as per Chaudhari, has received an “overwhelming number of inquiries” from India. While the talks are in the initial phase, seeing how the AI Pin performs when it starts shipping in March 2024 will be interesting. 

Is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 the best foldable phone you can buy in India right now? We discuss the company’s new clamshell-style foldable handset on the latest episode of Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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For details of the latest launches and news from Samsung, Xiaomi, Realme, OnePlus, Oppo and other companies at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, visit our MWC 2024 hub.

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