Why Spend on AI Gadgets When These AI Apps Can Do It All

In Short
  • AI gadgets like Humane AI pin, Rabbit R1, and Meta Glasses aim to instantly connect you to AI to help you out with everyday life.
  • You can mimic what they do with the help of AI apps and assistants already available for your smartphone like live translation, image generation, third party integration, and visual search.
  • The AI apps on your phone provides results faster than AI gadgets and they their accuracy is also slightly higher.

Humane AI pin, Rabbit R1, and the Meta Sunglasses were thought to usher in a new era of AI devices. However, their launch fell short, due to their unfinished state, and key features promised to be “coming soon”. This begs the question – do we really need AI gadgets? Can we not use AI from our smartphones instead? So I took up the challenge to answer this question and tried to replicate features of these AI gadgets using AI apps that are already available for smartphones.

For this comparison, I will take you through several features these dedicated AI gadgets offer and see which AI apps can simulate a similar experience on your phone. I’ll also remark how good they are at performing certain actions.

Asking Questions Using Voice Commands

The main use case with these AI devices is that you can use your voice to ask them anything that crosses your mind and get almost accurate answers for it. AI apps that we have used here can also perform the same thing. Apps like Gemini, ChatGPT, and Copilot support voice commands, so you won’t have to use your phone’s keyboard. ChatGPT Voice even lets you select from different voice models.

Generative answers by Gemini, ChatGPT and Copilot

Gemini on Android can even set reminders, timers, read out recent mails, send messages, and make calls. This is one thing that is exclusive to Android devices for now, and you can’t do it on iOS devices or with other AI apps either. As you can see in the screenshots below, in some instances, Gemini triggers Android’s Google Assistant to perform certain actions automatically.

  • General assistant tasks on Gemini
  • General assistant tasks with Siri on iPhone

Since we are in the early stages of AI, they do tend to hallucinate and give wrong answers sometimes too confidently. This issue is also prevalent in AI hardware devices. The apps also keep a record of every conversation that you have had with them, so you can go back and revisit them anytime you want, like you can do with the Humane AI pin.

Carrying Out Visual Searches

Like the AI gadgets, I can also do visual searches of my surroundings using the camera tool on the AI apps. It’s present on Gemini and Copilot. All you have to do is tap on the camera icon, click a photo, and ask your question. You can also use upload pictures from your device library to do visual searches. In my use, Gemini and Copilot offered good responses. Meanwhile, ChatGPT requires a subscription to ChatGPT Plus to get things done.

Visual Search by using Gemini, ChatGPT 4 and Copilot apps

Both Gemini and Copilot are available on iOS, so iPhone users can also do visual searches without any problem.

Translating Conversations in Real-Time

Humane AI Pin and Rabbit R1 offer live translation services across several languages. While the AI apps mentioned above have the ability to translate words, phrases or texts, they can’t do real-time translation of a conversation.

Translating phrase using ChatGPT

It is also not easy to get them to translate. ChatGPT for example will recognize the language you are speaking and respond to you in the same tongue. The transcript for the conversation will also appear in that language. So for translation to work, you’d need to include “Translate x to English” to achieve reasonably accurate results.

AI Live Translate feature in Galaxy S24
AI Live Translate on Galaxy S24

Samsung devices have recently added AI features for live translation on calls but they are a hit and a miss as you can see from the weird conversation transcript above. Besides these, you can use Google Translate and iPhone’s Translate app for reliable image, and text translations. Google Gemini might get Interpreter mode support later.

Working with Third-Party Apps

The Rabbit R1 allows you to interact with a few services such as Spotify, Doordash, Uber, and Midjourney. But instead of having direct integration, Rabbit visits the site with your login information and then does the activities for you. Credit where credit is due, none of the AI apps can interact with third-party services.

Gemini working with Google services using Extensions
Google Services Extensions in Gemini

ChatGPT has plugin support, but there is no easy way to get them working on mobile. Other than that, only Gemini has extensions that connect it with other Google services. You can ask for details about your data from Google Drive, summarize your emails, or YouTube videos. It recently received a YouTube Music extension, allowing it to play music and provide recommendations based on your mood.

Creating AI Artwork

The Rabbit R1’s Midjourney integration lets you make AI images with voice commands. Pretty cool, right? However, you’ll have to visit Discord to download the image, instead of doing it from the device itself. Not to forget, you need a Midjourney subscription to get started. I can do the same with all three AI apps and download images right away.

Image generation through AI apps

Copilot and ChatGPT both generate images using DALL E 3, whereas Gemini does so on its own. All of these apps support voice commands, so you can create photos without ever touching your phone’s screen. Copilot and Gemini allow you to generate images even in the free version, but you need a subscription for ChatGPT to use this feature.

I noticed that the free image generation returns somewhat blurry and unrealistic results compared to the paid version. Results from ChatGPT and Gemini Advanced came out looking sharper and had more details than what I got from Copilot and the free version of Gemini. One thing to note is Gemini won’t create images of human subjects because of the whole diverse image debacle.

Instant Access to AI

Since these gadgets are solely built with AI in mind, using any one of them means you will have instant access to an AI chatbot with a press of a button. You don’t have to unlock your phone, and then open the AI app of your choice, which is hard to copy. However, there are a few ways to instantly bring up AI apps on your phone that I have managed to find.

Some Android devices have a back tap gesture to open any app on your phone. Use the back-tap gesture to quickly launch an AI app. Samsung devices allow you to customize the side key to start a certain app, so if you have a Samsung phone, try it. iPhone users can create a back-tap shortcut to instantly trigger an AI app. We have added an iCloud link for a shortcut to trigger the ChatGPT voice, which you can try for yourself.

Pricing vs Subscription

The extra cost that you have to spend on these AI devices is the biggest issue people have with them. The Humane AI pin starts at $700 and requires a separate monthly subscription. While Rabbit R1 only costs $200 it also needs its own data plan outside Wi-Fi to work.

You save all this money when you use your phone. All the apps we have mentioned are available for free to use. Most of the AI features are there in the free version, like:

  • Object detection and scene analysis (Gemini and Copilot only)
  • Generative responses
  • Access to real time data (Gemini and Copilot only)
  • AI image generation (Gemini and Copilot only)
  • Support for voice commands
  • Conversation history

You can purchase their premium subscriptions to unlock the complete potential of what these apps have to offer, including access to the latest models, priority access during peak hours, faster responses, and upcoming features. For this, you’ll have to pay $20 for GPT Plus and Copilot Premium. Gemini Advanced also costs the same, and you get 2TB of Google Cloud storage with it.

Do We Really Need AI Gadgets?

The idea of these AI devices sounds great at first but, practically, makes little sense outside some niche situations. How often do you see people use voice commands in public? You don’t, because your phone may not get it right, and trying it again is not worth the embarrassment.

I also glossed over how long these devices take to answer your question or perform a given task. You may be nervously waiting for a minute or two for your device to translate what you said or generate an image. And it may still get it wrong in the end. In contract, AI apps take less time and are more accurate. Except for Copilot, which can take a while to answer.

Yes, AI gadgets do eliminate the distractions of your smartphone. However, I would, instead, like to have AI integration built into existing devices like headphones or smartwatches. Nothing has recently added ChatGPT support for their latest Ear and Ear (a) buds, which allows you to trigger ChatGPT voice without waking your device. This is something I’d like to see more devices start adopting. And I’ve previously shown you that you can achieve everything they say on your phone with the help of AI.

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