#Asia Sony, LINE are in talks to join forces to develop AI devices

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It falls in line with Sony’s voice-and-gesture-based virtual butler service Sony Agent and its accompanying hardware Xperia Ear

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Sony Xperia Touch, a device that converts any flat surface into a touchscreen

Japanese tech companies Sony Corp. and LINE Corp. are considering to join forces to develop artificial intelligence (AI)-based devices.

As stated during the Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona on Monday, Sony Mobile is “exploring the collaborative possibilities with Sony Agent Technology on Xperia Smart Products and the new cloud AI platform from LINE Corporation, the company behind the popular LINE messaging app, to develop and co-create a new communication experience.”

No further details were announced yet about the new up-and-coming project, but it falls in line with the announcement of the company’s voice-and-gesture-based virtual butler service Sony Agent and its accompanying hardware Xperia Ear in October 2016.

During the event, Sony also introduced Xperia Ear “Open-style Concept” which is based on ‘open-ear’ audio technology developed within Sony’s Future Lab Program.

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Xperia Ear “Open-style CONCEPT”, a wireless ‘open-ear’ stereo headphones

Also Read: Artificial Intelligence can democratise healthcare access in India, says Manish Singhal of Pi Ventures

According to a Bangkok Post report, Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai has been battling pressure to “shutter” the tech giant’s mobile business. The CEO believes that the mobile business will “serve as a springboard” for the company to jump into Internet of Things (IoT) business, by imbuing AI software into its mobile devices.

LINE itself founded its machine learning, big data, and AI lab in March 2016. Its foray to AI may help to propel business as revenues from digital stickers and free-to-play mobile game began to slow down.

According to Bloomberg, “Going forward, Line’s ability to draw in users – and hold onto them – may increasingly depend on chatbot services, interfaces for the internet of things and artificial intelligence-driven offerings.”

Apart from announcement, Sony Corp also launched four new Xperia smartphones (Flagship Xperia XZ Premium, Xperia XZs and super mid-range Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra) and Xperia Touch, a device that converts any flat surface into a touchscreen.

Image Credit: Sony Mobile

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