While Google and Apple are working to deliver typing prompts and custom profile photos in their message apps, OnePlus is beefing up its own messaging app in a different way: with a healthy dose of AI-powered organization.
On the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro, the upcoming OnePlus 7T, and coming soon to older handsets, OnePlus’s stock Messages app will gain a “Smart SMS” feature. No longer will your messages merely populate your phone in chronological order, cluttered with bill reminders, payment notifications, and one-time passwords. Texts from businesses will clearly be separate from the ones your friends send, all sorted automatically based on content. The system went live in India Thursday, with expansion planned for additional countries, including the United States.
It’s similar to how Google’s Gmail works, and very much a why-didn’t-someone-think-of-this-sooner feature you’d normally expect from Google or another tech juggernaut. Instead, OnePlus has partnered with an AI company named Gupshup to deliver this upgrade. Gupshup CEO Beerud Sheth says it’s been a long time coming. “When you think about the enterprise messaging experience today, it essentially hasn’t changed for 20 years,” Sheth pointed out.
Cutting down on the clutter
Instead of a simple chronological list of your conversations, OnePlus Messages will feature three folders at the top of the screen: Promotional, Transactional, and OTP (one-time passwords). As messages come in, they’ll be sorted appropriately, just like Gmail’s Primary, Social, and Promotions tabs. That means messages from your bank and credit card company will land in Transactional, 2FA codes will end up in OTP, and deals and sales from stores will go straight to Promotional.
The new features won’t be optional, and folders can’t be customized or deleted, though as always you can opt for a different Android messaging app. But if you’re the kind of person who fanatically deletes unwanted messages, you may want to give it a try.
Privacy takes precedence
I know what you’re thinking: The last thing you want is for someone to be able to read your texts. Sheth stressed numerous times that the AI software works entirely on the device, and neither OnePlus nor Gupshup will see or store any messages. Privacy was paramount in developing the system, Sheth said, which is part of the reason why the model is limited to so-called enterprise messages. “There is no user data that goes from the device to the server,” Sheth said. “All computations happen on the device.”
Gupshup isn’t sure whether the public or the AI is ready to expand to personal or MMS messages. He said that it could expand to other “high-frequency use cases,” but it would take far greater training models. For now, Sheth merely wants to clear out the junk so your message list is cleaner.
“Your messaging app now is just a list of text messages,” he said. “Now it will appear as a list of cards for each of the things that you’re doing, and it makes it much easier and convenient to use.”
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