Privacy is the leading concern regarding AI smartphones, study finds


AI will be a major factor fueling smartphone growth in the next few years, presenting many opportunities to manufacturers and consumers alike. However, there are growing concerns about privacy, among other things.

In the last couple of weeks, there have been a slew of new PC announcements. Microsoft unveiled its latest Surface AI PCs with Copilot+ features, while other major PC manufacturers also introduced their latest devices equipped with hardware capable of processing AI workloads.

Previously, research firm Canalys projected that this year, due to AI capabilities, overall PC sales should grow by eight percent after a few years of decline.

The latest report by the company indicates that AI will also fuel the growth of AI smartphones.

Canalys says that an AI smartphone is one with dedicated hardware, such as an application-specific integrated circuit on a system on a chip, that can efficiently execute AI models and support real-time on-device inference with minimal latency.

Several examples of current AI phones would be the latest flagships from the biggest smartphone vendors, such as Samsung Galaxy S24, Apple iPhone 15, and the latest Google Pixel phones.

Canalys projects that this year, around 16% of all smartphones sold will be AI-capable, while in 2028, they will make up 54% of all smartphones sold.

The report states that AI will provide huge opportunities for smartphone manufacturers. However, to capitalize on these opportunities, manufacturers will have to address some challenges.

AI phones are generally considered to be safer since AI computations are done on one device instead of sending them to the cloud, minimizing the risk of intercepting the data during transmission and minimizing exposure to cloud-based vulnerabilities.

However, Canalys's study, which featured around 5,000 participants, found that privacy is still the leading concern regarding AI smartphones.

The company says that privacy and security risks may stem from apprehension about the potential collection, storage, and utilization of personal data by AI algorithms.

“Over half of respondents said they were concerned with AI access to their personal data,” the report reads.

Other concerns regarding AI include that users will not understand AI features, a lack of transparency, the extra cost of features, and a reduced ability to control devices.

According to the report, Apple will be one of the biggest winners of AI smartphones. The company launched the iPhone with The A17 Pro chip, which brings some on-device capabilities to iPhone users.

Canalys expects iOS to account for 55% of the AI-capable smartphone market in 2025, owing to its presence in the premium segment and a well-optimized hardware and software experience supported by the software developer community.