Panasonic enters the AI race with Arbo enabled smartphones

Arbo is an always active virtual assistant that will remember things for users and provide suggestions accordingly


As of now, this new virtual assistant will be available only with Panasonic Eluga Ray Max and Eluga Ray X.
As of now, this new virtual assistant will be available only with Panasonic Eluga Ray Max and Eluga Ray X.

Japanese company Panasonic has also joined the league of phonemakers such as Google and HTC which are offering smartphones with artificial intelligence (AI) enabled virtual assistants. Named as Arbo, this new virtual assistant in town will be available on Panasonic smartphones, starting with the Eluga Ray X and Ray Max which will be releasing next month.

How Arbo works

Like all personal assistants the idea behind Arbo is to make smartphones smarter and play a more productive role in user’s life. Arbo will be built in the phone and users can activate it by logging into the Arbo app, which comes preloaded on the phone, with their Google account. User won’t have to create a separate account to use Arbo.

Once activated, Arbo will keep track of how users are interacting with their phone and what apps they are using at a given location or time. It will use this information in two ways. First, with repeat activities of users. So, if a user orders lunch from Swiggy or Zomato every Tuesday to avail of a certain discount, Arbo will remember it and send a notification on Tuesdays so they won’t miss out on the deal.

Similarly, it won’t show notifications that user get on workdays on days when they are not working.

In a nutshell, users won’t have to save reminders in calendar app to remember things they need to do.

The other way in which Arbo can help users is by remembering how a phone was used in a given location. So if a user’s phone is in a specific location where the phone has been used with a WiFi hotspot or Bluetooth Device like a speaker or a TV before, Arbo will inform users of all these options so they can take advantage of them right away instead of wasting time on manually looking for them.

Panasonic has assured that will keep on enhancing the ability of Arbo through updates every six months. Also, if a user switches from one Arbo enabled Panasonic phone to another in future, they won’t have to configure it from the beginning. It will remember their usage pattern on the new phone too.

What phones will have it

As of now, this new virtual assistant will be available only with Panasonic Eluga Ray Max and Eluga Ray X. It will not be available on older phones as if now, but Panasonic is not ruling out the possibility of making it available on some of their popular phones through an OTA update.

The Eluga Ray Max is priced at Rs11,499 (32GB) and Rs12,499 (64GB) while the Eluga Ray X will cost Rs8,999.

The Eluga Ray Max offers a 5.2-inch full HD screen. It is powered by Qualcomm’s 1.4GHz Snapdragon octa-core chip with 4GB RAM and 3,000mAh battery. It also supports Qualcomm It runs Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) and supports Quick charge 3.0 technology.

The Eluga Ray X offers a 5.5-inch full HD, runs on a 1.3GHz MediaTek quad-core processor with 3GB RAM and 4,000mAh battery. It runs Android 6.0.

Both phones will be available only on Flipkart.com from next month.

How it compares with Google AI

What make Arbo different from Google Assistant is the way in which it tries to gather information about a user. Google Assistant is more conversation-oriented and its suggestions depend more on how much users interact with it. The more you use, the easier it becomes for it to understand context in a conversation and provide more accurate results. Panasonic’s AI will work continuously in the background to learn about users and is not strictly conversation driven.

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