Smart Glasses and AI Badges: All the Ways AI Appeared at MWC 2024

ChatGPT and generative AI continue to dominate the tech industry, so it's no surprise that AI showed up at Mobile World Congress.

David Lumb Mobile Reporter
David Lumb is a mobile reporter covering how on-the-go gadgets like phones, tablets and smartwatches change our lives. Over the last decade, he's reviewed phones for TechRadar as well as covered tech, gaming, and culture for Engadget, Popular Mechanics, NBC Asian America, Increment, Fast Company and others. As a true Californian, he lives for coffee, beaches and burritos.
Expertise smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, telecom industry, mobile semiconductors, mobile gaming
David Lumb
4 min read

A laser projected from the Humane AI Pin turns your hand into a display.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

While MWC 2024 in Barcelona had the expected unveiling of new chips and interesting phone concepts, this year's show also featured this year's hottest tech trend: artificial intelligence. From wearable personal assistants to smart glasses, MWC brought AI to mobile.

Like at CES 2024 in January, there were plenty of exhibitors showing off new AI devices while chipmakers demonstrated how their silicon used generative AI to answer queries in real time. The biggest names in generative AI like ChatGPT and Meta's Llama 2 rely on vast server farms to respond to user-submitted prompts, but it's clear that mobile companies are finding ways to bring AI with you on the go.

Read more: Galaxy Ring: My Hands-On Experience With Samsung's Chic Wearable

Some of these are conventional, like supercharging smartphones with AI features. Others re-examine how we interact with gadgets, like using a wearable to answer queries or controlling your phone with your eyes. While AI has been used in phones for years to clean up photos and assist typing via autocorrect, new AI-powered features are showing what's possible with accelerated computation and learning models assisting our daily lives.

Here are all the ways CNET saw AI at MWC.

Hands-On With the Wearable Humane AI Pin

See all photos

A wearable AI badge

The biggest news for attendees was that attendees finally got a closer look at the Humane AI Pin, which was first revealed in November with more questions than answers. The company behind the pin got deeper into its functionality at MWC 2024: the wearable badge purports to operate like a sort of AI concierge: the wearer asks for directions or makes shopping requests and the gadget responds. It activates via tapping its touchpad, and can project text via a laser (users hold their hand up for the laser to project onto).

While these are tasks that people accomplish with their smartphone, Humane's creators believe the wearable could be a discrete gadget that helps users without sucking them into more screen time. It's on hand (or via magnets, pinned to your clothes) to assist when needed, fielding requests and retreating to silence. It's literally impossible to doomscroll on. Like a phone, it has its own number and monthly service fee in the form of a monthly subscription.

Read more: Humane's Wearable AI Pin Hints at a Phone-Free Future


The Xiaomi 14 Ultra.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

AI in phones, wearables and more

After seeing generative AI capabilities in the premium Samsung Galaxy S24 series that launched in January, it wasn't surprising to see AI capabilities shown off in other phones, too. The Xiaomi 14, first revealed at Snapdragon Summit in  October as the first phone sporting the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, was shown off at MWC alongside its higher-specced Xiaomi 14 Ultra as part of an international lauch. Both sport on-device generative AI that can do things like expand a photo beyond its original borders and use AI to fill it in.

The Honor Magic 6 Pro also debuted at MWC with an interesting AI-powered eye-tracking feature letting users control the phone using their eyes. Other AI features include Magic Text, which recognizes text in images and converting it into editable text, much like iPhone's Live Text feature. 

Oppo debuted its AI Motion camera, which uses artificial intelligence to sharpen subjects moving too fast -- say, like pets scurrying so speedily that they appear as a blur in photos. While the AI Motion feature seems similar to Photo Unblur and Face Unblur for Google's Pixel phones, Oppo says it can also be used for enhancing slow-mo videos, allowing the capture of videos at 960 frames per second at potential resolutions of up to 4K resolution -- an incredible feat if true, as top-end phones like the Galaxy S24 Ultra can only achieve up to 240 frames per second in 1080p resolution. 

Aside from phones in your pocket and wearable AI badges on your jacket, there were several other gadgets at MWC that had AI. Chinese phone maker Oppo unveiled its Air Glass 3 prototype device that's worn like other smart glasses and provides access to Oppo's AI assistant (which itself runs on Oppo's AndesGPT large language model). 

A modem chip sits encased in display plastic with lots of labeled writing and the Snapdragon logo.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon X80 5G modem debuts at MWC 2024.


Mobile chips and machine learning

Late last year, chipmakers Qualcomm and MediaTek debuted the first mobile hardware to ride the ChatGPT wave with on-device generative AI that could respond to prompts and modify images, among other uses of the new tech. MWC 2024 saw even more silicon with built-in AI capabilities to improve other parts of the mobile experience.

Qualcomm introduced a new modem, the Snapdragon X80 5G, aimed to go in this year's upcoming premium phones as well as tablets, PCs and other devices. Improvements to its dedicated AI processor led to better data speeds, latency, switching between wireless spectrum for the best signal and power efficiency -- all things leading to a better experience. The modem can even extend the range of millimeter wave signal when used in a fixed wireless access 5G home internet solution.

Late last year, MediaTek launched its Dimensity 9300 chip for premium Android phones and the Dimensity 8300 chip for slightly lower-tier handsets, both of which have on-device generative AI. At MWC 2024, the company had demos on the show floor using the chips in sample devices to run Meta's Llama 2 generative AI model. While we're still early in the year, it won't be long before owners of new phones (like the Samsung S24 line powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 with on-device generative AI) will be able to run large learning models and image-generating software like Midjourney right from their phones.