Alongside our daily news coverage, features and interviews, Verdict’s news team sifts through the week’s most intriguing data sets to bring you a roundup of the week in numbers. 

This week saw the Germany’s Deutsche Telekom unveil an AI-powered, app-less smartphone concept at MWC 2024, Japan’s Renesas launches a chip to enable vision in humanoid robots, and further gaming layoffs at Electronic Arts (EA) and Sony.

Deutsche Telekom showcases futuristic AI-powered, app-less smartphone

German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom, owner of T-Mobile, showcased a smartphone concept that entirely relies on AI instead of applications on Monday 26 February, the first day of the annual MWC conference in Barcelona.

An app-less, AI-powered smartphone is an entirely new concept. Deutsche Telekom has removed everything traditionally found in modern phones including text messages, video games, banking and social media.

The telecom company’s concept, dubbed T-phone, has been developed in partnership with US intelligent computing company Qualcomm and Brain. 

The app-less AI phone was announced following an increase in AI deals in Germany last year, according to GlobalData’s Deal Database.

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In 2023, the value of AI deals in Germany totalled $1.5bn (€1.39bn), a significant increase from 2022, which totalled $1bn.

This was a decrease from 2021, which saw deals peak at a total value of $1.8bn.

Japan’s Renesas launches chip to enable vision in humanoid robots

Tokyo-headquartered Renesas Electronics has unveiled its new RZ/V2H microprocessor to enable vision AI and enhanced robotics capabilities.

The chip does not require cooling components, allowing it to better facilitate the development of autonomous robots.

The new RZ/V2H uses proprietary technology, has ten tera-operations per second power efficiency and AI technology that can achieve up to 80 TOPS [tera or trillion operations per second] in AI inference performance. These specifications are key for AI in humanoid robots.

In addition, this enables the processing of vision AI applications on edge AI devices, eliminating dependence on cloud platforms.

According to GlobalData's Deal Database, the value of robotics deals in Japan peaked in 2023, with a total value of $442m (Y66.48bn).

This was a significant increase from 2022, which saw deals total $228m. The value of deals in 2021 totalled $133m.

EA and Sony announce layoffs

EA and Sony announced layoffs this week, marking another blow to a game industry suffering significant cut backs.

EA announced a second round of layoffs, impacting approximately 5% of its workforce, accounting for around 670 employees.

The move follows the company’s decision to cut 6% of its staff in March 2023, demonstrating a restructuring trend that has seen hundreds of layoffs within two years.

EA CEO Andrew Wilson said, in an internal email, that the layoffs are part of an ongoing effort to “optimise our global real estate footprint to best support our business”.

Sony announced it will lay-off about 900 employees in its PlayStation unit, making up around 8% of its global workforce.

In an email to employees, released publicly by the company, president and CEO Jim Ryan said: “After careful consideration and many leadership discussions over several months, it has become clear changes need to be made to continue to grow the business and develop the company.”

Multiple UK-based PlayStation studios are to be affected by the cuts. Sony announced it will close its London Studio, which develops its virtual reality games. Its UK-based Firesprite studio is also affected.

The news of layoffs comes as the value of gaming mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals peaked in 2022, according to GlobalData's Deal Database.

The value of M&A deals steadily increased from 2018, before plummeting in 2023, according to the company.

In 2022, the value of deals totalled $123bn, a significant increase from 2021, which saw deals totalling $93bn.