Turing's Appassionato phone has a dedicated button that links you to a concierge

turing appassionato news smartphone phone with sir alan 5
When it comes to smartphones, machine learning is the next big thing. The Pixel and Pixel XL pack Google’s computer-powered Assistant, and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 has Bixby. So it’s no surprise that Turing’s next smartphone ships with the firm’s take on an AI. What is surprising is that it’s powered by humans.

The Android 7.1.1-powered Appassionato is a smartphone of superlatives. It’s machined from a “liquidmorphium alloy,” with a diamond-like carbon coating. It features a scratch-resistant sapphire screen. And it boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.

But by far the most intriguing feature is a dedicated physical button — dubbed the “Sir Alan” on the Appassionato’s side. Borrowing a page from the Galaxy S8 and its Bixby button, the Appassionato’s button launches an AI-powered concierge on demand.

Turing’s chief executive, Syl Chao, described it as “amplified intelligence.”

AI with a human twist

turing appassionato news smartphone phone with sir alan 4

Here’s how it’ll work: When you press the Appassionato’s concierge button, you’ll be connected to a personal assistant who can schedule flights, book hotels, and perform other tasks on your behalf. Turing’s human assistants will be able to glean information from AI software that has access to your chat history, emails, calendar, and more.

Say you task a concierge with booking a flight to Thailand — if you’ve traveled there before, the AI collates such information as which airline you booked (from your email), where you stayed (from your phone’s location history), and the people with whom you traveled (from your text message conversations). It then supplies that information to the concierge, who’ll suggest a travel plan that best fits you.

Turning’s terrible track record

turing appassionato news smartphone phone with sir alan 8

It seems like a lot to promise, and Turing doesn’t have great track record of delivering on its promises. The eponymous Turing Phone was scheduled to ship in December 2015, but was delayed till April 2016, and then again to June 2016. When it finally did arrive, the operating system had changed, and it performed so poorly that we gave it a low score of two stars out of five.

But Chao said the company is committed to meeting expectations and shipping the Appassionato on time. Turing has contracted TCL, the Chinese manufacturing partner behind the BlackBerry KeyOne, and expects the Appassionato to ship to customers in the U.S. and China this summer.

A sky-high price for vaporware

turing appassionato news smartphone phone with sir alan 6

One thing is for sure: If and when the Appasionato does arrive, it won’t be cheap. A low-end version that lacks the sapphire display, diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating, and access to Turing’s concierge service will start at $1,100. The top-of-the-line Appassionato GX8 will run $1,600 and only comes with one year of concierge access — Chao declinedg to break down service pricing.

Despite the sky-high price tag, Chao sees the Appassionato as the first Turing phone aimed at average buyers. “We’re very much after designers and fashion-savvy customers, but we think it’s priced competitively,” he told Digital Trends. “If you compare the price of the Appassionato to an iPhone with the same storage, it’s pretty close.”

Time will tell. But Chao is confident the Appassionato will turn heads. “It’s a life organizer,” he said. “People will love it.”

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Smart Home

Here’s everything Amazon and its partners announced for Alexa at CES

Amazon Alexa is rocking CES 2019. After selling millions of Echo and Dot smart speakers during the 2018 holiday season, extending its reach everywhere, Amazon has announced a ton of new partnerships with device manufacturers.
Computing

Every gaming laptop that was announced at CES 2019, ranked

Looking for a new gaming laptop? You're in luck, as we compiled and ranked all the gaming notebooks that were announced at CES this year. Be sure to take a look at the latest models with AMD or Nvidia chips before you buy.
Mobile

Apple’s iPhone battery offer was reportedly way more popular than expected

As many as 11 million iPhone owners reportedly made use of Apple's cheaper battery replacement offer that launched in 2018 in response to the iPhone throttling debacle — some 10 times more than the company had apparently expected.
Mobile

Rekindled yet again, Nokia’s next-gen phones offer more than just nostalgia

HMD Global, a startup that designs and builds Nokia Android smartphones, wants to put the Nokia brand name back “where it belongs.” It helps that it’s made up of ex-Nokia employees. We go behind the scenes to see how HMD formed.
Mobile

Samsung rumored to mark 10 years of the Galaxy S line with a 5G model

Samsung is rumored to launch a 5G version of the Galaxy S10, called the Galaxy S10 X. The phone may be larger than the standard Galaxy S10 devices, and feature a very impressive specification sheet.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Mobile

The most expensive Galaxy S10 could be the priciest Galaxy phone we've seen

Not long now; with 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Computing

Yes, Android apps can run on your PC, and it's easier than you think

Wish you knew how to run Android apps in Windows? It's easier than you might think and there are a number of different ways to do it. In this guide, we break down the steps so you can follow along with ease.
Mobile

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.
Android

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…
Mobile

C you soon? Rumors swirl of a USB-C port on 2019 iPhones

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…