In a market where differentiation between smartphone models is minimal at best, it is hard for a brand to make a mark. While specifications are increasingly becoming homologous across devices, we’re starting to see some interesting new additions in terms of software features. Panasonic, recently launched the Eluga Ray Max smartphone and while the phone is more than competitive from a hardware point of view, what’s under the hood is a lot more interesting. Our review of the Panasonic Eluga Ray Max is forthcoming but for now let’s take a walk through Arbo, the defining feature of the smartphone.
Dubbed Arbo, Panasonic has built an artificial intelligence companion for their latest smartphone. The premise is simple, the software uses machine learning to get a better idea of how you use your smartphone. Over time, the personal assistant onboard the Panasonic Ray Max is able to understand your daily usage habits, your work schedule and where you usually are to give you context specific prompts that simplify your life. To make it even more approachable, the entire interface is in the form of a radial UI that can be easily used even with one hand.
During out testing period, the one feature that we found particularly convenient was the settings switch cue. Arbo uses the built-in GPS on the smartphone to know exactly where you are at a given point. Using this information, it can determine if you are at work, home or somewhere and give you a profile settings prompt so that you can easily switch between phone profiles.
Another interesting capability on the Panasonic Ray Max due to the onboard Arbo smart assistant are the predictive prompts for frequently used apps. Once the phone figures out what apps you use the most, it can automatically give you suggestions based on the time of day, you location and what it believes you’ll want to use at the moment.
Of note is the way that Arbo is able to hook into the entire operating system and learn from each and every aspect of it. The assistant is capable of tracking your phone calls and messages to keep a track on potential missed calls and messages that need to be replied to. Think of it like your personal secretary that will always keep a a tab on your communications to make sure that you don’t skip a beat. With that in mind, the assistant uses an account to make sure that all your personal settings carry forward even when you switch to a new phone. This way you do not need to retrain the assistant right from the start.
With Arbo, we feel that Panasonic has a really cool feature on hand that takes a different, dare we say fresher approach towards simplifying your life. While the likes of Google Assistant help you make more sense of your online life, there haven’t been many solutions to make using your smartphone a simpler and friendlier experience. With Arbo, it seems like Panasonic has a good solution at hand and we can’t wait to see where the company takes this in future iterations.