Samsung’s artificial human NEON will not be coming to phones anytime soon. According to Pranav Mistry, CEO of STAR Labs (Samsung Technology & Advanced Research Labs), the brain behind this project, NEON will be available in 2021 but is not coming with the Galaxy S21 series or any other Galaxy devices.
NEON was first unveiled at CES 2020 in January. STAR Labs, which is an independent unit of Samsung Electronics, describes the project as a “human-level AI with the ability to speak, recognize, and think”. It will “provide new AI-driven experiences and value to its customers.”
There hasn’t been much talk about its availability since that official introduction in January. However, Mr. Mistry suggested last month that a test version of NEON is now running on his smartphone. He added that consumers will be able to see it before Christmas. That statement gave rise to speculations that this revolutionary technology may debut with the Galaxy S21 in January next year.
However, that was seemingly a false hope as he soon clarified that NEON View is being developed exclusively for B2B (Business-to-Business) customers. It will be available as an “API that integrates NEON’s real-time conversation capability to mobile apps and web services”. There’s no plan yet for the “general public availability” of this artificial human.
Mr. Mistry has now followed up with a new tweet reiterating that NEON is an independent service in making only for “B2B via View API integration, and NEON Frame”. It isn’t coming to phones in the near future.
NEON isn’t coming to phones anytime soon
Samsung has detailed several use cases for the NEON artificial human. These AI-generated human-like virtual avatars can back up as a service representative, news anchor, financial advisor, concierge, healthcare provider, or just as a virtual friend.
However, as much exciting as this NEON project seems, there hasn’t been much clarity about its availability. Although the CEO of STAR Labs has now officially confirmed that this artificial human is not coming to phones anytime soon, there’s still no precise information about its availability for B2B customers either. Mr. Mistry simply says it will be “available in 2021,” without revealing further details.
The official NEON website, meanwhile, says “My NEON,” an artificial human friend, is coming in 2022. The website also mentions “NEON Superstar,” an artificial human celebrity. This version is also coming in 2022. These two versions sound more like consumer-facing products. Hopefully, STAR Labs will be able to match the idea with a timely execution as well.